ALABAMA - Cyber Monday is here. Are you planning to shop online? If so, you're part of the majority. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Americans are expected to spend $6.6 billion. That number is up 16-percent from last year.
Those numbers show how much the shopping holiday is increasing in popularity. Unfortunately, it's also becoming a good time of year for scammers to cash in.
$205 - That's the average amount of money RetailMeNot is projecting people to spend on Cyber Monday. But before you go to your shopping cart and enter credit card information, experts have some tips.
Elizabeth Garcia with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama reminds you to look for the 's' in HTTPS and the lock symbol in the web address. This ensures the site is secure. If you don't see it, Garcia says to be cautious about sharing information.
"I certainly wouldn't make purchases on that site because you cannot be certain whether or not the information you provide about you, or your credit card, or banking information is going to be safe," Garcia said.
According to Amazon officials, more than 70% of their online customers purchased orders through their mobile devices, but experts recommend to not use public wifi on Cyber Monday. So even if you shop on your phone, it'll be safer to do your shopping at home.
Garcia also recommends doing research before making expensive purchases. Smart shoppers know what price to expect. She says to stay away from links offering huge price reductions.
"If it sounds too good to be true it most likely is, so be very cautious of that; don't click on those links," she said.
And if you start your transaction online Garcia says to keep it online.
"If you are ever asked by the seller of the item to go offline or off the established marketplace do not do it, because that is the for sure a time when you are the most likely to be scammed and lose money in the process," she explained.
An online order is sealed with just a click of a button. Garcia says pausing first to think about what you're doing can make your shopping holiday much more merry and bright.
You may have noticed some Cyber Monday deals have already begun. The trend for online retailers this year is to have a whole week for Cyber Monday sales.
But experts say their safety advice is helpful no matter when you choose to shop online.