New warnings for online shopping and donations
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It's the season of gifting and giving. With two weeks to go until Christmas, online sales continue to grow, even after a record-setting Cyber Monday.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales tapped out at about over $1 billion.
But the shopping season still has ways to go, and new warnings are coming out about online transactions.
As you add those last minute items to your cart and get ready to check out, there are some way to protect yourself from online thieves.
It's advised not to use public Wi-Fi to make your purchases.
People can easily hack in and get personal and private information used over the Wi-Fi, including credit car numbers.
Also, it's recommended not to store credit card or bank account information on websites.
Saving that information may be a time saver, but it also is very risky.
Jason Tomsci with AARP of Indiana says, there's another key way to make sure your purchase is secure.
"You've got to carefully read that website address to look for missing characters or extra letters from the retailers' name," he explains. "Sometimes those are fake websites that then take your information once you get in.
But the risk doesn't end there.
The holiday season is a popular time for people to donate to causes they care about.
But it's also a popular time for scammers and thieves to take advantage of your generosity.
If you're looking to donate online, check to make sure the organization and the website are legitimate.
There are several different websites you can use to check it out, including the AARP's Fraud Watch Network.
Tomsci says, it's important to know where you're sending your money.
"Hot-button causes that benefit police and firefighters and military, all of those things are things that they're going to try and use," he explains. "There's actual organizations that are doing good work and they'll try to use those as a front to get in the door."
Tomsci adds that in about four years, cyber crime damage will add up to about $6 trillion a year.