Avoid online scammers on Cyber Monday
November 28, 2011, 9:19am
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Tips for protecting yourself from online scams this holiday season
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Monday after Thanksgiving, dubbed Cyber Monday, is growing in popularity as a day to shop online. According to the National Retail Federation, seven in 10 online retailers expect their sales to grow at least 15 percent this holiday season. The NRF's holiday survey also found that the average person plans to do 36 percent of his or her holiday shopping online -- up from 33 percent last year.
Shopping online means avoiding the crowds, but it also opens buyers up to attacks from scammers and hackers. In order to fight these online grinches, Better Business Bureau offers these online shopping tips to help fight unscrupulous online retailers and scammers:
· Shop on trustworthy websites. Check a seller's reputation and record for customer satisfaction at bbb.org. Look for the BBB seal and click to confirm the link is valid.
· Beware of “too good to be true” deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. Go with your instincts and don’t be afraid to pass up a "deal."
· Beware of phishing. If you receive an e-mail claiming problems with an order that asks for personal information or financial information, BBB recommends calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that there really is a problem with the transaction.
· Confirm the website is secure. Always look in the address box for the "s" in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the "lock" symbol before making an online purchase. If there are any doubts about a site, right-click anywhere on the page and select "properties." to see the real URL and if the site is not encrypted.
· Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, charges made on a credit card can be disputed if the item is never received. Many card issuers also have "zero liability" policies under which the card holder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it.
· Review the return policy. A return policy should be clearly listed on the company’s website. Be sure to read all conditions associated with the return policy, specifically how long you have to return an item. If you do not see the return policy listed, contact the company and ask them to provide you the information in writing.
· Verify when to expect shipped item. Pay close attention to the estimated delivery time to ensure you will get your item before Christmas. Federal law requires that orders made online be shipped by the date promised, however, if no delivery time is stated, stores have up to 30 days to get the item to you. And if it takes 30 days to receive the item you’re purchasing on Cyber Monday, you will not receive the item in time for Christmas.
· Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online order process, there should be a final confirmation page or an email confirmation. Print and save any confirmations for future reference.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.
Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.
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