What you can do to avoid Cyber Monday scams

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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Retailers use the day to encourage people to do their holiday shopping online.

According to the National Retail Federation, this year should be huge for online shopping with 41% of people saying they plan to do some holiday shopping online. That number jumps to 52% for those under 25 years old.

Last year, more than 80 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday.

With that many people shopping online, it's also a time for scammers looking to take credit card numbers and other personal or financial information.

The Marion Police Department has some tips to avoid scams. Use a unique password for online accounts. That makes it harder for people to guess. Also, don't use the same password as your bank account.

The police department says to avoid clicking on links in emails sent from retailers. Those could inadvertently install malware on your device.

Have your bank account send notifications whenever your card is used.

In addition, use a third party PayPal or Venmo account instead of paying with your debit card.

“Where if they do get your information, it's not draining your own bank account such as if you used your debit card,” said Officer Tom Daubs with the Marion Police Department. “If your debit card information gets hacked, then they have unlimited access to your bank account, and that bank account is not going to last very long."

Officer Daubs also recommends setting up a security system to prevent porch thefts.

“Even if it's visibly noticeable, that sometimes helps because a thief is going to survey the property before they step up on the porch,” he said. “If they see two or three cameras pointing at the door, that might be a theft deterrent."

Daubs says criminals are getting more tech-savvy. That’s why he says to also be on the lookout for skimmers. Those are devices hackers put on ATM's and at gas pumps which allow them to access and wipe out your account.

Credit card fraud is a felony that can lead to jail time.