SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/CNN) — Calling it “hunting season for online thieves,” Internal Revenue Service officials offered tips to consumers who will be going online to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals.
Adobe Analytics projected that Monday will be the largest online shopping day in U.S. history with $9.4 billion in sales — a 19% increase from last year.
So far, sales have surpassed $470 million and Adobe expects the final four hours of the day (10 pm ET to 2 am ET) will account for 30% of the day’s revenue. Around $11 million will be spent per minute in the 11 pm ET hour Monday.
This increase in sales can be attributed to two factors: Severe weather across the country, which is forcing people to stay home, and a shorter holiday shopping season. Adobe is also predicting a major year for shopping on mobile devices.
“Consumers are reimagining what it means to shop during the holidays, with smartphones having a breakout season as well,” Taylor Schreiner, head of Adobe Digital Insights, said in a press release. “We expect that consumers will spend $14 billion more this holiday season via their phones.”
Americans spent $7.4 billion on Black Friday and $4.2 billion on Thanksgiving. Both were increases of 20% over last year, according to Adobe.
Salesforce also projects new records for Cyber Monday with Americans spending $8 billion, a 15% increase over last year. The sales extravaganza is also taking off on a global scale, with sales for Monday growing 12% over last year to $30 billion.
Roughly 75% of shopping done over the previous weekend was on a mobile device, which Salesforce said was “another groundbreaking period” for mobile.
Shopify, an online sales platform that is used by more than 1 million merchants, said that Monday’s global sales data has already surpassed $1.5 billion. That is more than the sales from the full weekend last year. Mobile was also a popular way for shoppers to buy, according to Shopify with 70% sales transactions on portable devices.
During the holiday season, criminals will also take advantage of large numbers of people shopping online to steal identities and money.
“The holidays may mean the shopping season to consumers, but it’s the hunting season for online thieves,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
When shopping online, the IRS and Summit partners remind taxpayers to protect themselves with these tips:
- Shop at sites where the web address begins with “https” – the “s” is for secure communications over the computer network. This is an added layer of protection when sharing credit card numbers for a purchase. Keep in mind that scam sites also can use “https,” so people should ensure they are shopping at a legitimate retailer’s website.
- Don’t shop on unsecured public wi-fi in places like a mall. Remember, thieves can eavesdrop.
- At home, secure home wi-fis with a password. As homes become more connected to the web, secured systems become more important, from wireless printers, wireless door locks to wireless thermometers. These can be access points for identity thieves.
- Don’t forget to use security software for computers and mobile phones – and keep it updated. Make sure purchased anti-virus software has a feature to stop malware, and there is a firewall that can prevent intrusions.
- Protect personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone. Phishing scams – like imposter emails, calls and texts — are the No. 1 way thieves steal personal data. Don’t open links or attachments on suspicious emails.
- Use strong and unique passwords for online accounts. Use a phrase or series of words that can be easily remembered.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Many email providers and social media sites offer this feature. It helps prevents thieves from easily hacking accounts.
In addition, the Summit partners note these security measures include mobile phones – an area that people sometimes can overlook. Thieves have become more adept at compromising mobile phones. Phone users also are more prone to open a scam email from their phone than from their computer.
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