State crime lab offers tips for Cyber Monday safety

ALBANY, N.Y. — As thousands across the Capital Region participate in Cyber Monday, the New York State Police Technical Computer Crimes Lab has offered local residents several tips for protecting their personal information.

Lieutenant Mark Brown, of the New York State Police Technical Computer Crimes Lab, says that consumers can keep their information safe by only using credit cards for online purchases, which prevents criminals from completely emptying a person’s bank account. He claims that PayPal is even safer.

Brown also says it is important that consumers check their credit card statements often and change their passwords every six months.

“Things like changing the password on your router at home, using different passwords for maybe your amazon account or our eBay account, or maybe changing your pin on your ATM card,” said Brown.

He says that consumers should not get lazy when it comes to keeping their information safe.

“Companies are working with customers who are legitimate victims, and when you are being taken care of, maybe you aren’t as careful next time,” said Brown.

Collin Wood, a local online shopper, was among those participating in Cyber Monday deals.

“The ads get me, I see it and then I click on the link the next thing you know I have a credit card out,” said Wood.

As a student, he likes that he can shop during paper breaks without leaving the comfort of places like Tierra Coffee Roasters in Albany.

“Beats going out on Black Friday,” said Wood.

However, according to Brown, shoppers like Wood should not be making purchases off of free Wi-Fi.

“I would certainly stay away from things like public, free Wi-Fi access, I know it is convenient, but it can also be a slippery slope, to having your data compromised, “said Brown.

Patricia Baranell, another local online shopper, says she will wait until she gets home from the coffee shop to make her purchases.

“I rarely do that, I do most of it at home,” said Baranell.

Wood says he is willing to take the risk and that he is not too worried about cyber security this week.

“I’ve had some purchases that I didn’t make on there, but usually they just cover it, as long as you pay attention to it, it’s not that big of a deal,” said Wood.

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