Cyber Monday Do’s and Don’ts
The convenience and ease of shopping online has replaced the hassle of going to the store for many people. An increasing number of shoppers head to the internet every Cyber Monday. The National Retail Foundation estimates129 million American adults shopped for bargains on the Monday after Thanksgiving 2012, spending approximately $1.5 billion, a 20% increase over 2011 numbers. And whenever and wherever there is money to be made, dishonest individuals will come out of the woodwork to take your money and run.
This Cyber Monday, BBB provides the following tips to help fight unscrupulous online retailers and hackers:
1. Do protect your computer – A computer should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.
2. Do shop with trustworthy businesses –Start with BBB to check on the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction. 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.
4. Do be hypersensitive about deals that sound too good to be true – Offers on websites and in unsolicited e-mails can often sound too good to be true, especially extremely low prices on hard-to-get items. Don’t be afraid to pass up a “deal” that might cost you dearly in the end.
6. Do make sure you are not purchasing counterfeit merchandise In 2012, law enforcement agencies blocked over 100 U.S. sites by seizing the domains ahead of Cyber Monday.
7. Do make sure you are not on a copycat website. Look carefully at your browser’s address bar – especially if you followed a link from a social network or unsolicited email. Sometimes fake web pages resemble that of big retail sites, and the URL might be intentionally confusing in order to trick you.
8. Confirm your online purchase is secure - You should at least see an “https://…” in the address bar, and a padlock icon in the status bar at the bottom. Positioning may vary by browser. If you don’t see the “https://” string (not “http://”) before the URL, don’t use that page Never shop while on a wi-fi hotspot.
9. Pay with a credit card – It’s best to use a credit card, because under federal law, the shopper can dispute the charges if he or she doesn’t receive the item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit card, and many card issuers have “zero liability” policies under which the card holder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it.
10. Keep documentation of your order - BBB recommends saving a copy of the Web page and any confirmation e-mails for future reference and as a record of the purchase.
11. Check your credit card statements often – Don’t wait for paper statements; check your credit card statements for suspicious activity by either calling credit card companies or by checking statements online regularly.
12. Know your rights – Federal law requires that orders made by mail, phone or online be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods aren’t shipped on time, the shopper can cancel and demand a refund. There is no general three-day cancellation right, but consumers do have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or was misrepresented.
If you think you’ve downloaded something malicious to your device, immediately run a virus scan and alert your financial institutions. Forward any suspicious emails to www.ic3.gov, and forward any suspicious text messages to 7726 (SPAM).