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Cyber Monday: Shop at work (and don’t get caught)

Black Friday can be a chaos pool of crowds and traffic, but it seems a necessary evil if you want to get a jump on holiday shopping. But what about Cyber Monday? Sure the deals are great, but there’s one little problem — for most Americans, that’s a work day.

Woman peering around computer

Black Friday isn’t for everyone — some of us are itching to get typing on Cyber Monday. In fact, most of us (if research is correct) will be spending serious money on Cyber Monday — and many of us will be doing so on office time. That can be really risky, so here are ways to avoid getting in trouble while shopping at work.

Review your company’s policy

Your boss may be watching you more closely than you think — and that’s if they aren’t already blocking shopping sites in the first place. Spending an excessive amount of your Cyber Monday crossing Christmas gifts off your list could result in your termination.

Only use trustworthy sites

The last thing you want to do is open up your work computer to dangerous viruses or security risks. Stick to sites you know you can trust. Not sure which online storefronts fall into that category? Try a free add-on like Web of Trust, a service that shows you which websites you can bank on being secure based on millions of user-experiences.

Don’t leave evidence on the printer

Experts agree that safe online shopping should involve creating a paper trail including order confirmations or receipts, but if you print those out at work, pull them off the printer right away. The last thing you want is for your boss to find your Victoria’s Secret receipt sitting on the printer tray.

Keep your credit card in your wallet

Whipping out your credit card is a rookie Cyber Monday mistake. Keep it in your wallet and you’ll be leaving one less clue that you’re actually shopping rather than working. Instead, write the numbers on a sticky note or use PayPal to complete transactions without having to input your credit card information.

Don’t use your work email address

Your employer could be monitoring your digital communication, so when you complete an online checkout, don’t give them your work email address. Instead make sure receipts and order confirmations are sent to a personal account.

Learn simple key strokes

Need to hide your screen in a hurry? Then practice tapping the Alt and Tab keys together. That will let you flip between screens — let’s say and an Excel spreadsheet — without messing with your mouse.

Use a mobile device

Many popular online retailers are beefing up their mobile sites and even creating apps that allow for easy shopping. If you’ve got a smartphone, you may want to use that instead of your work computer on Cyber Monday. Unless it’s a company-issued phone, your employer won’t know what you’re up to — unless you end up bragging in the break room about the good deals you scored.

More Cyber Monday prep

It’s coming! Get ready for Cyber Monday
Are earlier Black Friday hours cutting into valuable family time?

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