On the Monday following Thanksgiving, online retailers offer deals that rival those of Black Friday. If you plan to do holiday shopping online, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for a safe buying experience:
• Only shop on secure websites, those that begin with “https.”
• Shop at online stores that you trust.
• Use strong, different passwords for each website.
• Check shipping costs and delivery dates. Obtain tracking numbers for your purchases.
• Use a credit card instead of a debit card for online purchases.
• Print or save your records of all online purchases.
• Check your credit card statements regularly for fraudulent activity.
• Avoid too-good-to-be-true offers. Most free or trial offers make you enroll in program that automatically bills your credit card unless you cancel within the trial period.
Some additional tips to keep in mind throughout the year in order to protect your identity and personal information online:
• Make sure all updates have been installed for the computer or mobile device you plan to use. Install antivirus and anti-spyware software as well.
• Don’t click on pop-up ads and links in emails from unconfirmed senders. Instead enter the Web address directly into your browser.
• If using Wi-Fi to access the internet, make sure the connection is secure. Steer clear of unsecure mobile hotspots.
For more holiday tips from the BBB, visit www.bbb.org/us/ consumer-tips-holiday. For more information on protecting your identity, visit the FTC’s Consumer Information website at www.consumer.ftc.gov.
Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor