Cyber Security Expert Offers a Few Tips for Online Shoppers this Holiday Season

STOCKTON -- With Cyber Monday upon us, experts are predicting a lot of people will be spending their time and money on the internet. That means some people will be ditching the traditional brick and mortar stores all together.

Experts say there are some dangers to shopping online, but there are also ways to protect yourself.

Katie Kafton understands the perils of shopping online.

"It was a hassle," she said.

She recently fell victim to cyber criminals.

"My PayPal account and two of my credit cards were hacked online," Kafton said.

"This is a map of real-time cyber security threats," said Jeff Shafer, director of the cyber security program at the University of the Pacific.

He says as online crime and phishing websites get more sophisticated, so does cyber security.

"I hope all their phones, their computers, their phones, their tablets, the software is up to date," Shafer said.

Shafer says the latest software updates will help shield your devices from hackers.

He also says that shoppers should always purchase items on a secure network -- meaning, avoid public Wi-Fi. And before entering your personal information, make sure the website you are on isn't a fake.

"They make a website that looks like a legitimate store, but really its a phony and you get victims to type in their credit card numbers freely, but really you're giving it to a spammer," Shafer said.

Shafer warns shoppers to think twice about deals that seem too good to be true because they might be. He says always go directly to the retailer's website instead of clicking tempting ads.

"Don't have an attitude of fear, but follow some of these basic security practices and that will minimize your risk for hassle," Shafer said.

A hassle Kafton learned about the hard way this holiday season.

"It took me like two and a half weeks to get the money back in my account. My credit card, I just had to do this whole long dispute," Kafton said.