David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau joined us with advice for your Cyber Monday shopping. Shoppers often participate in Cyber Monday because of the 24-hour convenience that online offers, they are able to avoid the crowds that Black Friday brings, and they appreciate the sales and delivery specials that online retailers offer. While shopping online, it's important to remember to do your research and shop securely. Below are some trends and tips to help make your online shopping a safe and successful one.
- Look out for scams: A BBB investigation done this year revealed at least 80% of sponsored advertising links in an internet search for pets were linked to scam websites. Be sure to read customer reviews and complaints for unfamiliar websites on BBB.org before making purchases. Misspelled words and bad grammar are indicators of a fake website. If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- HTTP and HTTPS: Before sending any personal and sensitive information, make sure the website has "https://" at the beginning of its web address. The "S" at the end of HTTPS indicates that the website is secure because it is encrypted, which makes it safe to enter credit card or other personal information.
- Shop with a credit card. A credit card provides additional protections over a debit card in case of fraudulent transactions. If your card number is compromised, it's easier to dispute any charges that you didn't approve. Prepaid cards or gift cards don't have the same protections as a credit card, but you'll never lose more than the value of the card itself.
- Email phishing: A popular one at this time of year is an email claiming to be from a package-delivery company with links to tracking information. Clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. Be sure you recognize the address the email is coming from and don't get tricked into giving up personal information to a scammer.
- Hackers like kids' IDs: Since kids and teens usually have good credit, hackers are always on the lookout for their information. This can allow hackers to obtain credit cards and more. Talk to your family about the importance of not giving out personal information in soliciting emails or social media.