Those avoiding Black Friday madness in the hopes of snagging a deal out of the comfort of their own home on Cyber Monday might not be completely out of the woods in terms of safety — cyber safety that is.

online shopping

Photo credit: Shutterstock

It is expected that cyber criminals will steal up to $5.4 billion in credit card and personally identifiable information this holiday shopping season.

“Scammers use many techniques to defraud consumers, from phishing e-mails offering too good to be true deals on brand-name merchandise to offering quick cash to victims who will re-ship packages to additional destinations. Previously reported scams are still being executed today,” the FBI stated as a warning.

Ron Schlecht, co-founder of BTB Security, emailed TheBlaze a few tips to protect your finances and identity:

1. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. The old adage remains true for online shopping. Take a breather, step away from the computer and do some comparison shopping. Don’t get caught up in getting that deal – it may turn out to bite you.

2. Know who you’re dealing with. Quick research and reviews about the site give you insight into how they conduct business and how trustworthy they are. Again, online shopping is not like the pushing and shoving that goes on in stores. Take your time and be confident in the retailer that you’re buying from.

3. Be stingy about how your payment information is recorded and transmitted. Look for “https” in the prefix of the Web address or the lock icon in the status bar of your browser. This should be a deal breaker…immediately. This is the bare minimum protection for online shoppers.

4. Pay with a credit or charge card – they still offer the best protection for online fraud. Even better, if your card offers the option to create a “one time card number,” use those for each online purchase to ensure your real card number does not get abused. Do not purchase anything with a wire transfer. Money orders are also like cash and don’t offer any buyer protection. Your credit card company or bank will actually fight the seller if you are ripped off or if the card account info is compromised.

5. Check your financial accounts regularly to verify all activity. We should all be doing this anyway, but during heavy spending times, it is more critical. Reconcile what you bought with what you paid and ensure everything is received.

You can check out the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team for more resources to avoid getting scammed this holiday season.

Featured image via Shutterstock. This story has been updated to correct the name of BTB Security.