BBB: Protect yourself from online shopping scams - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

BBB: Protect yourself from online shopping scams

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The online holiday shopping season got off to a hot start when, according to software company Adobe, Cyber Monday resulted in the largest single day of online sales ever in the United States.

Although it is hard to top the convenience of purchasing gifts without ever leaving the house, there are certain challenges that come with shopping online. Those challenges often provide opportunities for thieves to dampen the holiday spirit.

The Better Business Bureau reports handling more than 10,000 complaints each year about internet shopping. The BBB hopes that some simple reminders can help reduce that number:

  • Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.  
  • Think before your click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that often do not measure up to the promotional hype.
  • Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you never made. Do not click!
  • Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections and it is easier to dispute charges that you did not approve. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards will not have the same protections as a credit card.
  • Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records.

Of course, with these online orders, many will be expecting packages to arrive safely on the front door. To help ensure this happens, the BBB suggests that you:

  • Track your packages. Follow shipments from the seller to your front door with online, text message or phone call tracking offered through the delivery company. Sign up for alerts to be notified of delays or exceptions and when the package has been delivered.
  • Request a signature. This package delivery feature will likely come with a fee, but without a recipient’s signature, the delivery service will not be able to leave a package exposed on a doorstep.
  • Check with your employer. Some employers will allow package delivery to your place of work for safe keeping.
  • Ask your neighbors. If you know people who live near you and who either work out of their home or stay at home, ask them to look out for your deliveries.

Remember, if you have been the target of a scam or suspect fraudulent activity, report it to authorities and at bbb.org/scamtracker to warn others.

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