With one-day discounts, ads for big savings and the ease of shopping from home, many consumers will opt to shop online this Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving.
While shopping online means avoiding the crowds, it can expose consumers to attacks from scammers and hackers. For this reason, Better Business Bureau provides suggestions to help shoppers stay safe online this holiday season.
In 2011, online shoppers spent $1.25 billion dollars on Cyber Monday, up 22 percent from 2010, representing the heaviest online spending day in history according to comScore.com.
“With all the excitement of obtaining a good deal, consumers can forget to take the necessary steps to protect not only their financial information, but also personal information that could later be used for identity theft,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB President/CEO.
To help consumers fight online fraud and scammers as they shop online this holiday season, BBB recommends the following five tips:
• Shop on trustworthy websites. Start by checking the seller's reputation and record for consumer satisfaction at www.bbb.org. Look for the BBB seal and other recognized “trustmarks” on retailer websites and click on the seals to confirm they are valid.
• Beware of deals that sound too good to be true. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails can often sound too good to be true, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. In some cases, “free” gift offers that require a credit card number may charge consumers later for products or services they did not order.
• Confirm your online purchase is secure. Before paying, shoppers should look at the URL (web address) for the “s” in https:// and for the “lock” symbol generally in the lower-right corner.
• Keep good records. BBB recommends saving a copy of the receipt and/or confirmation of the web order, as well as any email communications, for future reference. Keep information about the transaction, including the contact information for the website, order confirmation number, shipping status and tracking numbers, and warranty and return policies.
Search smart right from the start by visiting www.bbb.org to find information on most online businesses, or download BBB's iPhone App to search right from the palm of your hand.
Better Business Bureau has a Yuma office at 350 W. 16th St., Suite 205. Yuma County Director Janet Torricellas can be reached at 919-7940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.