Cyber Monday: Expected to be bigger and better than ever

Cyber Monday is the hot online shopping date that traditionally falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving's Black Friday shopping frenzy.

This year it lands on December 2 and is expected to be bigger and better than ever.

Last year's Cyber Monday reached an all-time sales record -- 30 percent higher than sale results in 2011, according to IBM Digital Analytics.

IBM reported that 1 million e-commerce transactions were reached. Initial sale reports show online sales were estimated between $1.5 billion to the $2 billion range.

According to comScore , reported final e-commerce spending totals during the 2012 holiday season were at $42.3 billion. This amount was spent during the entire November to December holiday shopping season -- increasing by 14 percent of total sales from 2011.

Mobile shopping accounted for 18 percent of online shoppers in 2012. According to PayPal, there was a 193 percent increase in mobile shopping on Black Friday 2012 than in 2011. 

Last year, Cyber Monday surpassed sales on Black Friday. Why?

Social media and Pinterest.

According to a report from Adobe , sales generated for Cyber Monday via Facebook or Twitter accounted for 77 percent of all social referral sales. Pinterest saw a 105 percent increase in social referral sales from 2011 to 2012.

The most-frequented searched retailers on Cyber Monday included Walmart , Best Buy , Amazon , Sears and Target , according to CNN Money. Check with CyberMonday.com for a full listing of deals.

Most retailers won't release their Cyber Monday deals for 2013 until the date draws nearer, so mark your calendars!

Safety for Cyber Monday

Make sure you are buying from a trusted, secure site. "The first thing you want to do is look at the URL and make sure it says HTTPS," Natalie Severino, a security expert at Trend Micro, told ABC .

Don't click on URLs in emails. Emails claiming "Awesome Cyber Monday deals here!" are most likely scams. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you're shopping on your phone or tablet, be sure to only enter credit card information through trusted sites. If using free WiFi, be mindful of using personal information. Try to only make purchases over a password-protected WiFi network.

Use different passwords. If you're signing up on sites for checkout, change up your word choice. ConsumerReports says this will make it more difficult for hackers to find a pattern and access all your information. 

Be sure that your antivirus software is up-to-date.

Use the latest version of your browser. Most browsers offer pop-up protection which will prevent you from accidentally clicking on a scam.

If possible, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Debit cards are directly linked to your bank account, giving thieves complete access. Credit cards typically have set limits and identity theft protection.

And remember to have fun!

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