Cyber Monday Approaches. Be Prepared.

Amazon is ready for you.

Glee Commerce

Spending on Cyber Monday, the holiday season’s newest tradition, is predicted to hit $3.5 billion this year. And while there are certainly bargains to be had, next week’s e-commerce excess is also an attractive target for scammers, hackers, and all around ne’er-do-wells.

We’ve got your survival guide to Cyber Monday right here.

Shop Early, Shop Often
Cyber Monday, somehow, comes sooner and sooner every year. The Associated Press reports that Wal-Mart stores are launching their Cyber Monday deals at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Friday. (Yes, we’re as confused by this idea as you are.)

Target have already launched their online sales, and Amazon’s begin on Friday.

Showing at least a modicum of restraint, Best Buy kick off their Cyber Monday sales on Sunday.

Be Prepared
Many of Monday’s sales have already leaked – if you’re going to make an impulse purchase, why not do some planning first?

Forbes rounded up some of the biggest discounts on televisions, tablets, computers, video games, and drones. IGN’s got a thorough breakdown of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from a dozen different retailers.

And Kinja Deals has assembled a “Cyber Monday hub”, adding deals as they go live.

Stay Safe
Be careful where you’re searching for those leaked Cyber Monday discounts, however. Application security company Veracode reports that “polluted” search results for terms like “Best Buy deals” often lead to malicious sites.

The company has also put together a handy infographic to help both web merchants and shoppers avoid getting scammed.

Cybersecurity expert Nick Barone told PhillyVoice, “If you have to look – a hard, deep search for best price – be leery that you could be going to web sites out there to steal your credit card information.”

While web phishing scams that mimic retailer’s web fronts are nothing new, don’t let the promise of a limited-time offer make you drop your defenses. Money advises, “If you get an offer via text or email, go online and visit the retailer by carefully and correctly typing in its address instead of clicking the link. If the text or email says that the only way to get the offer is through the link offered, chances are good that it’s a scam, because no retailer would chance losing a click-through because of a consumer’s fear of getting hacked.”

And the phishers are getting inventive. The New York Times warns that, “Hundreds of fake retail and product apps have popped up in Apple’s App Store in recent weeks — just in time to deceive holiday shoppers.”