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 lookalike 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, customer service numbers and physical location.
Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be cautious with businesses you aren’t familiar with. Check their BBB Business Profile on BBB.org and read customer reviews. In addition, be sure any web page 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 non-secure web pages.
Keep your antivirus software up to date. Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, and that it is up to date. This will help you to avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams.
Use your credit card. It’s best to make online purchases with 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. Some 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. Ask if items can be returned at physical store locations or only by mail.
Consumers may report scams to BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.