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Experts: Predators Are Targeting Shoppers In Stores And Online

Officials Provide Advice For Protecting Yourself

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Cyber Monday came in like a lion, and predators have been out trying to scam the throng of shoppers.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday evening, buyers have been advised to use caution – whether they’re online or at the malls.

For those who shop at brick-and-mortar stores, law enforcement has issued a warning about “double-shopping” – carrying packages from store to car and going back in for more.

“I’ve seen it in the malls — people being followed to their cars,” said April Pace of East Meadow.

Multiple victims have been followed and robbed on Long Island in particular.

“At this time of the year, people’s heads are not where they should be,” said Joanne Shirley of Garden City. “They are so involved with getting a deal or getting there first.”

One victim was strong-armed for his Xbox in Nassau County recently. A mother with a child in Suffolk County had her purse ripped from her shoulder.

Maxine Berman said she carries her purse in such a fashion that it cannot be easily ripped away.

“I usually walk around with this zippered, and I put it across my body and feel very confident,” she said.

The Suffolk County Sheriff advised people to conceal valuables in their cars, keep money in their front pockets, shop with others, and accompany young children into mall restrooms.

Shopping safety is also a major concern online.

“The Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We are seeing creative scams.”

One scam tried luring Wal-Mart shoppers by spelling “Wal-Mart” with to letter L’s. Another used a capital L in “Wal-Mart” rather than a lowercase L.

“It’s definitely so minute that you know, when I go shopping online, I really don’t look and see it happening to me,” said college sophomore Marc Silverman.

The URL for any site used for online shopping should begin with “https,” with S standing for “secure.”

“If you’re not watching it, you can just put in a different letter one time, and you can be a victim to all these things,” said college senior Andrew Fertitta.

Experts also advise using anti-virus and anti-phishing software.

“I’m really concerned that my information would be stolen,” said college senior Shannan Ferry.

Further, experts advise securing wireless networks with creative passwords to protect their personal information, and logging off a website immediately after purchase.

“The predators are trolling social media, looking for clues to something people are very eager to buy,” Schneiderman said.

Also, experts remind consumers never to click on unsolicited e-mails, and instead going directly to stores’ websites.

Consumers also should never download an unfamiliar app, and take action immediately if they suspect identity theft.

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