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Better Business Bureau: Be careful on Cyber Monday

POSTED: December 1, 2013 11:32 p.m.

Many people cite the pitfalls of jostling crowds as one reason to forgo a line at the door in favor of the Internet when shopping for deals after Thanksgiving.

But the Northeast Georgia chapter of the Better Business Bureau warns customers to protect themselves from harms specific to the online realm.

“Scammers know that Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and they are looking for people who are shopping online to hack their personal and financial information,” the consumer advocacy group warned in a news release.

The end of the shopping weekend has been marketed as Cyber Monday for several years. Retailers advertise their Cyber Monday deals, accessible through their websites, as shoppers flock to the Internet looking for bargains on Christmas gifts.

To ensure money, and information, end up in the right hands, the bureau said to maintain an updated computer.

“A computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall,” the release states.

The bureau keeps a list of validated retail websites.

“Shoppers should start with BBB to check on the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction,” the release states. “Always look for the BBB seal and other widely-recognized ‘trustmarks’ on retailer websites and click on the seals to confirm that they are valid.”

When it comes to checkout, the bureau recommends using credit cards over debit cards, as false transactions with credit cards are better protected by federal law and banks.

And while it can be time consuming, always read the fine print, the bureau said.

“BBB recommends taking the time to read the site’s privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used,” the release states. “If there isn’t one posted, it should be taken as a red flag that personal information may be sold to others without permission.”

Sometimes it can just come down to instinct and a healthy dose of skepticism. Does a deal sound too good to be true? Maybe it is, the bureau warned.

“Consumers should always go with their instincts and not be afraid to pass up a ‘deal’ that might cost them dearly in the end,” the release states.

The bureau keeps other advice on staying safe online this holiday season, as well as reports on thousands of online retailers, at its website, bbb.org.


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