Cyber Monday: Shop smarter, safer with expert tips

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4 billion dollars in online purchases, and experts are already predicting an even bigger day for Cyber Monday.

According to Adobe Analytics, online sales are up by 20% from last year, as shoppers are becoming more comfortable buying larger items at discount prices without having to step foot into a store.

With the noticeable trend, Adobe is expecting spending on this year’s Cyber Monday to hit a big record, estimating sales of $9.4 billion dollars. They also expect that the last few hours of Cyber Monday will attract a lot of sales from people unwilling to miss out on great deals.

With prices fluctuating, and products selling out quickly, you’ll need to act fast to snag the best deals. Luckily, there are tools to make sure you’re getting the best deals out there.

Price-Comparison Tools

When it comes to online shopping, you’ll find many retailers selling the same thing to try and beat each other’s prices. Price-comparison tools like Amazon Assistant and Camelcamelcamel will help you make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. These tools will allow you to see an item’s current price tag across a variety of retailers, choose deals to watch, a get notifications on price changes.

Coupon Code Tools

While shopping, many retailers will be swapping you with promo codes. Browser extensions like Cently and Honey, will make sure you’re not missing out on a better code buy searching coupon codes for you, and even applies them when you check out at an online store.

REMINDER: Before you use any of these tools, keep in mind things like shipping costs and shipping deadlines. You’re savings or the estimated arrival time of your item may change.

If you’re trying to figure out the best items to buy on Cyber Monday, look no further than technology and travel bookings.

You may have already found some great tech deals on Black Friday, but often times you might find similar or even better deals on laptops, desktops, PCs, and even accessories.

On Cyber Monday, airlines can offer discounted tickets on certain routes and travel sites can offer some good deals on vacation packages. If you forget to book that vacation day, you’ll get another opportunity to find some great deals. The day after Cyber Monday, is Travel Tuesday.

While many people will be trying to take advantage of good deals, cyber thieves will trying to take advantage of you. The Better Business Bureau has some tips on how you can avoid them as you shop online.

How to Avoid Scams and Hackers:

  • Beware of false advertising and phony websites. If a company is selling the hottest item of the year at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for false advertising and keep a close eye on the web address in your browser. Scammers love to create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. Make sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers.
  • Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be wary of businesses you aren’t familiar with. Check their BBB Business Profile on BBB.org, look at the rating, and read customer reviews. In addition, be sure any web page you purchase from is secure. Secure web addresses begin with HTTPS:// and not just HTTP://. Never put personal or credit card information in forms on non-secure web pages.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date.  Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, and that it is up to date. This will help you to avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams, and help keep your personal information safe.
  • Price check before you buy. Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but their offers can be misleading.  Do your homework by comparing prices. Remember that the best deal may not be the real deal.
  • Take advantage of rewards and loyalty programs. Check your credit card rewards program for special point offers that could add up on Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays. Make purchases using loyalty programs; many  major retailers have them.
  • Use your credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection. Never make purchases with online sellers by giving them prepaid debit cards or wiring them money.
  • Understand return policies. Online store policies may change for Cyber Monday offers. Read the fine print before you buy. Understand the return or exchange policy for the specific item you would like to purchase. Be aware that stores may not allow returns for “final sale” or “closeout” items. Make sure to get gift receipts, so the recipient can return or exchange the item if necessary.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Busy schedules and increased purchases make it easier to miss – and fall victim to – a phishing scam. Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, calls, or letters. These messages may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with a delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. Avoid phishing scams by ignoring suspicious correspondence and calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.

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