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Smartphone shoppers at higher risk of cyber theft

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Is the inbox filled to the brim with Cyber Monday spam? Even non-traditional Cyber Monday retailers are trying to capitalize on what many expect will have been the best Cyber Monday on record.

Best Buy, Target and online retailers weren't the only ones pushing their deals to inboxes this year. So was the Boy Scouts of America Online Catalog, and - locally - Brighton Resort.

"It's working - hopefully by the end of the day we'll see how good we did," Brighton's Jared Winkler said midday Monday.

This was the first time Brighton chose to push a Cyber Monday deal - due to a number of left-over 10-pack lift ticket vouchers.

"This year we had a few left so we decided to throw it out there and see if anyone would take," Winkler said. He was reluctant to speculate whether this would become a regular occurrence for the ski resort.

"Possibly - we don't want to turn that into a tradition because that will kind of mess up our preseason sales, but for this season we're giving it a shot," Winkler said.

Businesses across the country realize the potential. The National Retail Federation projected that 122 million Americans would shop online on Cyber Monday.

The numbers are being bolstered by tablet and smartphone users. Security firm McAfee estimates 71 percent of tablet owners and 53 percent of smartphone owners plan to buy online. "triples to quadruples" its normal day business on Cyber Monday, according to company president Jonathan Johnson.

"This is by far our busiest day of the year," Johnson said. "We ship a lot of products, we get a ton of orders."

While the company is trying to capitalize as much as the next one, Johnson expressed caution over email marketing. Most inboxes are being flooded, he acknowledged.

"I think it really comes down to what deals are being provided - if the price is right, people will come to shop," Johnson said. "If it's just filling their email boxes up with spam where there are no good deals, I don't think it gets a lot of bang for the buck."

Cyber experts Monday warned about the potential dangers, including suspect holiday apps and phishing emails touting bargains on the year's hottest gifts.

"When they're trying to get a doll for their kid or trying to get that "it" gift, they're very likely to click on an email like that and not think about it," columnist Bob Sullivan said.

Analysts also caution the use of smartphones to make holiday purchases. While many more are doing it - hackers realize it and also know mobile security is not nearly as advanced as that of traditional desktop and laptop computers.

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