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Better Business Bureau warns / Cyber Monday is prime time for high-risk online shopping scams

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CHICAGO – November 28, 2022 / It’s no secret that the Monday after Thanksgiving, now known as “Cyber Monday,” has become one of the top online shopping days of the year.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), however, says online shopping – especially on the fast-paced Cyber Monday – has risks. Beware. Online shopping has become the top or second riskiest scam in the past two years, based on reports to the BBB Scamtracker.

“Scammers will be out in full force with all kinds of devious ways to get your attention and get your money,” notes Naperville resident Steve J. Bernas, president, and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. “Be alert for misleading advertisements, lookalike websites and untrustworthy sellers.”

And, like so much else in 2022, not all deals and scam attempts will be on Cyber Monday. Retail experts predict that many online shopping activities and special holiday sales will continue throughout the holiday season.

“That means the scammers will be working overtime, too,” added Bernas in a news release.

Shop online safely every day with tips from Better Business Bureau

Aim to achieve maximum savings this holiday season while keeping your personal information and hard-earned money secure.

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 business name spelling and have legitimate contact information.

Always do your company research before you buy, and a great place to find businesses you can trust is by reading reviews and ratings on BBB.org.

Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be wary of businesses you aren’t familiar with. 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.  Ensure 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. 

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.

For more information, visit BBB.org.

Also look for the BBB seal, The Sign of a Better Business.

Remember!

Sage advice from BBB founded in 1912: If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sage advice from Carol Crookston until age 88: No matter what the price, if you don’t need it, it’s not a good deal.

PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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