It is estimated that 30 percent of shoppers will make purchases on Cyber Monday, and according to Nielson, 20 percent of Internet bargain hunters have unknowingly shopped for imitation goods.
While shopping online can be convenient, the anonymity of the Internet often makes it difficult to discern between the legitimate and the counterfeit.
With Cyber Monday on Nov. 26, the Better Business Bureau cautions consumers to look out for signs of Internet illegitimacy:
- Exceptionally Low Prices: Heed this warning—especially on in-demand or hard-to-find goods.
- Blurry or Distorted Photos: If images are unclear or skewed, it’s not a good sign.
- Limited Product Descriptions: Be forewarned if minimal information is available.
- Missing Contact Information: If there are no physical addresses or phone numbers do not connect, be wary.
- Questionable Licensing: If businesses are not properly registered in the states where they claim to be located, shop elsewhere.
- Vulnerable Payment Forms: Don’t enter personal data or pay on unsecured Web pages; secured sites have lock icons and “https” in Web addresses.
- Dodgy Disclaimers: Avoid sites that collect personal information, but lack privacy policies.
- Complaints: Be wary of unanswered or unresolved complaints on BBB Business Reviews.
- Bad Reviews: If searches on sellers or Web addresses deliver overwhelmingly negative feedback from others, steer clear.
If merchandise doesn’t show, dispute charges with sellers and credit card companies. File complaints with BBB and find more Cyber Monday tips at bbb.org.