Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday is Here - Buyer Beware

Now that we've stuffed ourselves with lots of food during thanksgiving, it's time to begin looking ahead to the upcoming holiday and what we're going to be buying our friends and loved ones.

Kudos to you if you were one of the adventurous souls who took advantage of Black Friday or the extended holiday shopping hours last week, but for many people, Cyber Monday is the time to find that really good deal online.

Last week we tried to prepare everyone by supplying them with safety tips while they ventured out to do their shopping, and this week we want to provide you with a few steps to take to protect yourself while shopping online this season.

The FBI offers the following tips to prevent online fraud:

•Purchase merchandise only from reputable sellers.

•Obtain a physical address and phone number rather than a post office box, and call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.

•Send an email to the seller to make sure the address is active.

•Check with the Better Business Bureau in the seller’s area.

•Ask about returns and warranties.

•Be wary of overseas sellers, who might not be subject to recourse by U.S. law enforcement.

•Don’t judge a company by its website. Impressive-looking websites can be set up quickly.

•Use a credit card for purchases rather than a money order or personal check if your credit card company allows you to dispute charges if something goes wrong.

•Shop around to educate yourself about the price range for an item. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t legitimate.