YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s that time of year again — some of the biggest shopping holidays are right around the corner. With all the deals, the Better Business Bureau warns us to be aware of scams as we enter the holiday season.
The BBB wants everyone to shop smart and safe this holiday season. In order to do that, we must know how to catch those “too good to be true” sales — specifically online.
The agency says online shopping scams have surged by nearly 90% since 2015.
Experts share tips to shop smart. This includes making quick purchases on social media websites. Scammers can learn your buying behavior and offer exactly what you want at low prices.
The BBB says you should pay with a credit card if possible. They say it is easier to contest any questionable purchases with the credit card company. As for in-person Black Friday shopping, there are tips you can follow to make the most of your shopping.
Start with a list of items and use sale flyers and promotions — this will help you stick to a pre-set budget.
Next, plan your excursion. Some stores will only honor some sales for a time period.
Don’t forget to do your research. Read product reviews on those extremely discounted items.
Finally, know the return policy or warranty information. If you are gift-buying, make sure your recipient knows about the store’s rules. The BBB recommends always getting gift receipts.
A lot of these rules also fall back for Cyber Monday as well.
The week following Thanksgiving isn’t just about shopping — back in 2012, the GivingTuesday movement began. This initiative has given a platform for online charities to collect over a billion dollars. But that also means scammers have found yet another way to take your money: disguising themselves as charities.
So, how can you ensure your money is being given to a legitimate cause? The BBB offers the following tips:
- Review the website carefully. A responsible charity will include its mission statement and measurable goals.
- Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions — specifically with unfamiliar organizations.
- Check with state charity officials. In many states – charities are required to register with the office of the attorney general before soliciting.
- Finally, you should research the organization’s tax status.