Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest wants to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season, especially when it comes to how they spend their money. The National Retail Federation reports that American consumers plan to spend nearly $1,000 during the holiday season.
Contrary to the shopping lines we see in the media in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, the busiest time for stores the day after Thanksgiving typically occurs between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. While this practice still remains, it’s evident that there is a shift going on in the way shoppers are researching and buying, as well as the way stores are advertising. Eighty-two percent of shoppers consult their phones while in a store. They often look up reviews on a product or compare prices from other stores.
Here’s a few tips to remember to keep your financial information safe while shopping:
- Email subscriptions: Many stores communicate their best Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive their emails. Just remember, you should never send cash or credit card information directly in response to an email you receive, even if it seems legit. It could be a phishing scam.
- Public Wi-Fi: It’s okay to look-up reviews or compare prices using public Wi-Fi, but it’s best to avoid logging on to any of your banking sites or other sites with sensitive personal information. Public Wi-Fi is often vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters who are looking to steal your info.
- Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails you’ll be receiving during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on any links in emails from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain.
- Gift Receipts and Warranty Information: Ask for a gift receipt that can be tucked into a gift item or card. This way the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right. Be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.
For more information on holiday shopping and donations visit BBB’s Holiday Helper Guide.
For more consumer protection tips and information on BBB investigations, visit bbb.org/northwest.
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