BBB Tips: Cyber Monday Shopping

  
     
November 23, 2016

Roanoke, VA  – If you are planning on shopping on Cyber Monday this year, you may just be a part of history. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Cyber Monday is expected to bring in $3.36 billion in online sales, making it the largest single shopping day ever. Falling on November 28th this year, the shopping holiday has grown incredibly popular as consumers look to take advantage of post-holiday online sales not found on Black Friday.

BBB Serving Western VA offers the following tips for shopping online, be it on Cyber Monday, or throughout the busy holiday season:

Protect your computer – Your computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.

Stick to trustworthy websites – Research the seller’s reputation and track record for customer satisfaction at bbb.org. Look for BBB’s seal and other widely-recognized “trust marks” on retailer websites. Always remember to click on the seals to confirm that they are valid and check out customer reviews online, including those offered by Better Business Bureau.

Protect your personal information – Take the time to read the privacy policy of websites you visit and understand what personal information is being collected and how it will be used. If you don’t see a privacy policy posted, be aware that your information may be sold without your permission.

Beware of deals that sound too good to be true – Offers found on less-traveled websites and in unsolicited emails sometimes advertise suspiciously low prices. When visiting a website, look for misspellings and grammatical errors, as these are signs the site might be fraudulent. Trust your instincts and be leery of unsolicited emails, as they may contain viruses or malware. Don’t be afraid to pass up “great deals” that might wind up costing you dearly instead of saving you money.

Beware of phishing – Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming problems with an order or a past transaction to lure the “buyer” into revealing financial information. If a consumer receives such an email, BBB recommends picking up the phone and calling the retailer you dealt with or your credit card provider to get to the bottom of the matter. Stay calm, don’t panic and always be protective of your personal and financial information.

Confirm your online purchase is secure – Before paying, shoppers should look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol, which confirms the website is secured.

Pay with a credit card – It’s often best to use a credit card, because under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charge if he or she doesn’t receive the item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit card or merchandise they receive is damaged.

Keep documentation of your order - After completing the online order process, there should be a final confirmation page or the shopper might receive confirmation by email. Save a copy of that and any emails for future reference and as a record of your purchase.

Check your credit card statements often – Don’t wait for paper statements; BBB recommends consumers regularly check their credit card statements for suspicious activity. Call your credit card company if you suspect fraud.

For more information, please visit www.bbb.org or contact the BBB Serving Western VA at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501.

The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, and free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBBWesternVA and on Facebook at facebook.com/BBBWesternVA.