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Cyber Monday Shopping

November 19, 2018

Host: Dr. Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Director for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

Guest: Mindy McCulley, Extension Specialist for Instructional Support

Episode 24

0:00 Welcome to Talking FACS; what you need to know about family, food, finance and fitness. Hosted by the University of Kentucky Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Program, our educators share research knowledge with individuals, families and communities to improve quality of life.

0:20 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Hello and welcome back to talking FACS. This is your host, Dr. Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Director for Family Consumer Sciences extension at the University of Kentucky.

Today, I'm joined by Mindy McCulley, our Extension Specialist for Instructional Support. And today, Mindy and I have combined forces to talk about our two subject matters of expertise. So, Mindy is in kind of media technology, all things cyber related, and my area of personal finance.

And we are, we're really focused in on Cyber Monday, but we're going to talk about cyber shopping, saving strategies, and cyber safety strategies.

1:00 Mindy McCulley: That’s right. We want to keep everybody in good financial standing and safe standing before the holidays.

1:07 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: And those are terms that are really hard to say to together. So, let's start and just thinking about that Cyber Monday is coming up very, very soon.

1:18 Mindy McCulley: That’s right. The Monday after Thanksgiving.

1:20 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: The Monday after Thanksgiving and we know that consumers are going to spend a lot. So, it is estimated that in 2018, consumers will most likely spend over 3 billion with a “B” dollars just on Cyber Monday.

So, everyone's going to be out there shopping, and like you just said, we want to make certain that they're saving as much as they can, but also being as safe as possibly can online.

1:46 Mindy McCulley: And last year was the first year that the cyber shopping exceeded brick and mortar shopping. And so, we’re sure that's going to be the same situation this year.

1:57 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: So, even beyond just this Cyber Monday day, that people are probably going to be spending a lot of dollars online this holiday season. And I must admit that I'm probably one of those people that just, you know, time constraints in life, just my opportunity to be able to go out and shop, and it also seems like the older I get, the less I like crowds.

2:17 Mindy McCulley: That's right.

2:18 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: That I just don't want to really fight through the crowds. I might do that once or twice just because it's fun and then after that, I'm probably going to go online.

2:29 Mindy McCulley: It's not worth it to try to find the parking spot and do all of the other stuff that goes along with shopping in a crowd.

2:36 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Exactly. So, let's start first with safety. That as a consumer and many of us like us that are going to be online Monday shopping, but as a consumer what do we need to think about in terms of cyber safety?

2:48 Mindy McCulley: So, if you are shopping on a department store or any website, you want to make sure that you are on a secure site. So, how do you know that it's secure? First of all, you're going to see https at the top, which indicates secure or you're going to see a locked padlock. There are unlocked padlocks and locked padlocks. So, if it's a secure site, you'll see the locked padlock. So, you want to see that in your address bar before you ever put any financial information in.

3:18 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Any important information in. And this is something that you've trained me well to look for. And so, I do that now when I'm shopping online. I make certain that there's an ‘s’ at the end of the http and that there is also the padlock up there at the top.

3:30 Mindy McCulley: Yes. That is the very first step that you can take. Now, lots and lots of stores have apps now and so you don't realize that you're actually on their website doing your shopping. So, you want to make sure that you are shopping, first of all, with a reputable source. So, not Joe's Big Videos or something. You want it to be a source that you recognize and that you are aware of and you also want to make sure that your app is from that source.

4:01 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: And this is something that I've noticed, Mindy, that if I'm going online to a specific store, that if I just maybe switch letters or not quite get the store name typed in properly, that I might feel like that I'm at that store website, but it's really and truly not.

4:19 Mindy McCulley: That's exactly right. You know, there are lots of people who can mimic or copycat or something and so you'll think you're looking at the store where you always shop and turns out that now you've gone to who knows where.

4:33 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: I perceive that it's easier for me to get to the store that I'm trying to go to. That instead of trying to type in the website in the bar at the top, that if I just type into the search engine, the name of the store, that I'm more likely to end up at the legitimate site. Is that true or is that just in my head?

4:48 Mindy McCulley: Well, probably not.

4:50 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Okay.

4:51 Mindy McCulley: Yeah probably not. You probably need to use the store web address that you know; so that you are… Because first of all, if you type into that search engine, whatever store it is where you like to shop, it could be that there's one that, like you said, just one letter different or something. And when you see all those search options pop up, then you might just click on the wrong one.

5:20 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Okay. So, that's a great tip there is to make certain or if I know the web address of the store, to type it directly in and also double check to make certain that I have typed it in correctly.

5:30 Mindy McCulley: And if you do use your search bar to find whatever store it is, usually or always, they will have the address listed below the search.

5:39 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Right.

5:40 Mindy McCulley: And so you can check that to make sure you confirm that.

5:41 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: I do confirm that.

5:43 Mindy McCulley: Yes.

5:44 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: I do.

5:45 Mindy McCulley: You can confirm that’s the right spot.

5:46 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Confirm that I'm in the right spot.

5:47 Mindy McCulley: But sometime, you know, I know especially this time of year, we're in a hurry and we want things to move quickly and we might just accidentally click on that wrong thing when we're in the search bar. So, if you know the address, it's really best to get there.

Passwords: You know, every site where you do any type of financial transaction; whether it's shopping or saving or whatever you're doing, you need to have passwords. Sounds like a no brainer; right? But it doesn't need to be the same password for every site we shop.

6:12 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: It should be a unique password.

6:15 Mindy McCulley: Exactly. And you want it to be a fairly complex password. So, you want to use a combination of letters and numbers and symbols.

Now, some sites don't let you use specific symbols, so make sure you use the same or whatever is approved for that site, but you do want to use those different passwords.

6:34 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: My home computer that I often online shop on it will actually suggest complex passwords you me. And I have gone to the point now that I just put it in the computer's hands and let it suggest. Is that okay?

6:46 Mindy McCulley: That’s okay. You still need to remember what it is.

6:50 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: To know what the password is. Yes.

6:51 Mindy McCulley: And you probably don't want to have your passwords stored. You need to put it in every time when you go shopping as an extra added protect. And also, don't write your password down and attach it with a post-it note to your screen.

7:08 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: To my computer.

7:09 Mindy McCulley: Yes, I probably thought you did.

7:11 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: I do not do that either, Mindy, but I will say from the personal finance side that you should have a list of your passwords and maybe not so much for stores, but the online passwords that you use often, especially if you do online bill pay, etc. that if something happened to you someone else would be able to access it.

7:28 Mindy McCulley: Right.

7:29 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: You keep that in a locked filing cabinet or a fireproof safe, if you have that at home. That is a good idea to have a listing that someone could access, but you want to make certain that it's in a secure spot.

7:39 Mindy McCulley: Yes, not underneath your computer.

7:40 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Exactly. Not the post-it note on the computer screen.

7:43 Mindy McCulley: So, we do want to make sure that you are safe. As a general rule, from my own safety, if I'm going to be shopping online, I want to go to the website. I really don't want to shop on an app. You can go to the apps to look things up and try to find things, but if you want to actually do your shopping, I recommend that you do it on the website, just for safety.

8:03 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Okay, good tip. Good tip to know. Thinking about shopping specific stores online, and this is one of my favorite money saving strategies, is that if you have signed up for that store's email and you've given your e-mail to that store to get there their promotional emails and deals and coupons, et cetera.

Now, I know sometimes we're hesitant to do that because it can quickly fill up an inbox, but maybe you want to set up an email account, just a free email account, specific for store promotional, that it's always a good idea before going to that store, check your e-mail, see if you have any recent emails from them that might have coupon codes or free shipping.

You can also often Google, or any type of Internet search engine, the store that you're going to be shopping at and maybe a coupon code pop up.

8:57 Mindy McCulley: Exactly.

8:58 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Sometimes you can often figure out a free shipping codes.

8:59 Mindy McCulley: Yes. And those are all great tips for saving money and not an option that you have if you are at the brick and mortar store; right?

9:11 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Right. Sometimes, you can search on an app real quick, but normally by the time I'm in line and I think, “Oh, I should check my phone” that it's really just a lot. So, you do have some opportunities to plan ahead.

And another tip that I love, and this may not necessarily apply to Cyber Monday, but if their stores that you shop at online often, that if you go in and you put some items into your shopping cart, if you are logged in so if you have your account, if you're logged in as you and then you just let those items sit in the shopping cart that you don't actually go through and make the purchase, likely within 24 hours, that company will send you an e-mail promotion with a coupon code to get those items at a greater discount.

9:52 Mindy McCulley: That's exactly right.

9:54 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: And that's fairly common with many, many online stores and I think fund tip, if you have time.

10:00 Mindy McCulley: Yes, exactly. We talked about shopping in the brick and mortar store. When you're there, don't shop on your phone or your computer or your tablet or whatever, because those are public Wi-Fi sites.

So, make sure that when you're doing your shopping that you are on a secure network, not the public Wi-Fi site because you really don't want to do your financial transactions on something that anybody can see. And basically on those public sites, anybody can see it.

10:31 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Great. Great tip. And probably the last thought that I'll leave us with today is that I generally recommend when shopping online for consumers to shop with their credit card as opposed to a debit card. That both your debit card and your credit card, they do have fraud protections on them, but it's just a little bit simpler, if something did happen if you use a credit card, it's easier to dispute. With a debit card, the money is automatically taken from your account and it has to be returned. With a credit card, you have the opportunity to dispute the charge before you actually have to pay the bill.

11:01 Mindy McCulley: Exactly.

11:02 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: And so, it just it just makes things a little bit safer to shop with a credit card as opposed to a debit online.

11:08 Mindy McCulley: And I agree with that too.

11:09 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Well, everyone should go out and enjoy shopping for the holiday season. Make certain that you're shopping though within your holiday budget and that you want to make certain that you're finding great deals, but also being safe at the same time.

11:23 Mindy McCulley: Exactly.

11:24 Dr. Jennifer Hunter: Thanks so much Mindy.

11:25 Thank you for listening to Talking FACS. We deliver programs focusing on nutrition, health, resource management, family development and civic engagement. If you enjoy today's podcast, have a question or a show topic idea, leave a ‘Like’ and comment on Facebook @UKFCSExt. Visit us online at or contact your local extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences. We build strong families. It starts with us.