Orlando, Fla. — Even experienced online shoppers can be duped by Cyber Monday deals.
Some advice from the Better Business Bureau? Small steps like using a credit card, price comparing, and looking at a retailers' reviews go a long way.
“You need to take just a few minutes to just out any online retailer before you purchase from them, especially if you’ve never done business with them before,” says Nancy Crawford, Director of Marketing and Communications for the BBB mid-South.
Before you click that ‘checkout’ button, jot down the website's customer service number or email.
If they don’t have one, you have no way to contact that retailer if there’s a problem with your order.
-False advertising and fake 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. 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 and customer service numbers.”
“Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but their offers can be misleading. Remember that the best deal may not be the real deal.”
-DON'T use a debit card:
“It’s always 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.”
-Check the return policy:
“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. Be aware that stores may not allow returns for “final sale” or “closeout” items.”
For general information on how to avoid scams, visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.
For more advice, read BBB's tips on online shopping.
If you've spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker.