CROMWELL, Conn. — The Monday following Black Friday, known as Cyber Monday, has become one of the top shopping days of the year. Be wary of misleading advertisements, lookalike websites, and untrustworthy sellers.
Beware of false advertising and phony websites. If a company sells 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. Ensure websites use the correct business name spelling and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers.
Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be wary of businesses you aren’t familiar with. Check their BBB Business Profile on BBB.org, review the rating, and read customer reviews. In addition, be sure any web page you purchase from is secure. Secure web addresses begin with "HTTPS, " not just "HTTP." Never put personal or credit card information in forms on non-secure web pages.
Keep your antivirus software up to date. Ensure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device and that it is current. This will help you avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams and help keep your personal information safe.
Price check before you buy. Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but their offers can be misleading. Do your homework by comparing prices. Remember that the best deal may not be the real deal.
Take advantage of rewards and loyalty programs. Check your credit card rewards program for special point offers that could add up on Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays. Make purchases using loyalty programs; many major retailers offer them.
Use your credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges appear later, you can contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection. Never purchase with online sellers by giving them prepaid debit cards or wiring money.
Understand return policies. Online store policies may change for Cyber Monday offers. Read the fine print before you buy.
Watch out for phishing scams. Busy schedules and increased purchases make it easier to miss – and fall victim to – a phishing scam. Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, calls, or letters. These messages may claim you have a gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. Avoid phishing scams by ignoring suspicious correspondence and calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.