Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, December 7, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 38° Rain
News >  Business

BBB Tip of the Week: Be safe, secure on Cyber Monday

By Tyler Russell BBB Northwest and Pacific

We all want to get the best deals on Black Friday, but a few days after is one of the top shopping days of the year – Cyber Monday.

In 2018, consumers spent a record $7.9 billion with online purchases that day alone. This year, Cyber Monday falls on Dec. 2 and really kicks the holiday shopping season into full gear.

Shoppers need to be careful online year-round by doing research and making their purchases carefully. Be wary of misleading advertisements, look-alike websites and untrustworthy sellers. The following tips will help you shop online this holiday season so you can achieve maximum savings 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 look-alike 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 webpage 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 nonsecure web pages.

Keep your antivirus software up to date.  Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device. This will help you to avoid nonsecure 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, 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.

Use 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. 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.

For more information

If your planning on shopping online on Cyber Monday, be on the lookout for businesses on our “naughty” list. You can find them here: https://trust-bbb.org/naughty-list/

For general information on how to avoid scams, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.  For more advice, read BBB’s tips on online shopping. If you’ve spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com