(WFXR) — “Cyber Monday” is not only one of the top shopping days of the year, but it can be Christmas for criminals looking to steal your data and identity.
However, here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to keep in mind while you surf the web for your Cyber Monday shopping:
- 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.
Also, watch out for false advertising, keep a close eye on the web address in your browser, and make sure websites correctly spell a business’ name and have legitimate contact information.
- Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only: Shop with companies and businesses with which you are familiar. However, if you do decide to buy from a new website, make sure to read the reviews, complaints, or their BBB Business Profile on BBB.org.
In addition, make sure any web page you purchase from is secure — in other words, check that the web addresses start with HTTPS:// and not just HTTP:// — before you put in any personal or financial information.
- Keep your antivirus software up to date: Make sure that you not only have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, but make sure it is up to date.
- Price check before you buy: Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but 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: Making online purchases with your credit card provides more protection than using a debit card. After all, if any shady charges turn up on your credit card, you can contest them through your credit card company.
Furthermore, never make purchases with online sellers by wiring them money or providing them with prepaid debit cards.
- Understand return policies: Since online store policies may change for Cyber Monday offers, make sure you read the fine print and understand the return or exchange policy for the specific item before you make a purchase.
Keep in mind that stores may not allow returns for “final sale” or “closeout” items. Nevertheless, make sure to get gift receipts so the recipient can return or exchange the item if necessary.
- Watch out for phishing scams: Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, calls, or letters. These messages may say you have a free gift waiting or mention a problem with a delivery, but they say you need click on a link or give up your personal information for more information.
In order to avoid phishing scams, just ignore suspicious correspondence and calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.
If you are planning on doing some online shopping for Cyber Monday or at any point during the holiday season, keep records of your transactions — even after you receive your purchase — and report any scams you come across to law enforcement and the BBB Scam Tracker.
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