Cyber Monday Tips for Safe Shopping Online

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Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. It has overshadowed Black Friday by huge numbers. Last year, 96.5 million Americans shopped online during Cyber Monday, 79 million shopped in stores on Black Friday. The reason for the change is clear: the luxury of shopping from home, hence avoiding nearly being trampled by the crowds in Black Friday stores. The following Top 10 Online Shopping Tips adapted from the Better Business Bureau’s website are:

1. Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

2. Shop on trustworthy websites only.

3. Protect Your Personal Information by reading the site’s policy.

4. Things that sound too good to be true usually are.

5. Beware of phishing—legitimate businesses do not email you about an order and ask for personal info. Always check the email of the sender. Make sure you know who you are actually communicating with. Look for slight spelling changes. For example I’ve received many “UPS” emails asking me for my address and phone number to send a package to. But when I view who sent the email it says “USPS” — these types of scams have become as commonplace as those telling you that you inherited millions of dollars and to please send your info to collect it.

6. Make sure an online purchase is secure—always look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.

7. Pay with a credit card because under federal law, a shopper can dispute the charges if the item never arrives. Never wire money. Western Union is a reputable company but there is no protection for the consumer once the money is wired. If you are asked to wire money you are more than likely being scammed.

8. As Judge Judy always says, “Don’t be stupid! Always keep a paper trail.” Save emails, website purchase confirmation pages, etc.

9. Read your credit card statements carefully! Be on the lookout for suspicious charges.

10. Federal law protects the consumer. If your purchase is not delivered within 30 days, or not by promised time, the consumer can cancel the order and receive a full refund. You are also protected if you receive damaged or misrepresented merchandise.

Here’s to a happy and SAFE holiday season for you!