PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Cyber Monday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that online shopping comes with risks.
The pandemic is causing more people to shop from home for the holidays.
According to the BBB, a recent Accenture survey showed that 75% of consumers plan to shop online for some of their gifts this year, which is up from last year.
“There’s a lot of great deals going on out there,” the BBB’s Paula Fleming told 12 News.
Fleming said whether you plan to shop the big box stores or shop small, it’s always a good idea to take steps to shop smart and safely by being wary of advertisements on social media.
“It could be a legitimate offer, but the chances you’re taking by clicking on the ad and making the purchase without doing any research, it’s too great at this point in time,” Fleming explained.
Before you make a purchase, Fleming stressed to do some research on the company, the website, or product of interest.
“Hover over the URL,” she suggested. “Make sure it’s a secure site and make sure it’s a reliable, credible and ethical business.”
A secure site’s web address begins with “https://” or has a padlock symbol, according to Fleming.
She said once you’ve found a credible place to buy gifts, it’s important to know the return policy, especially because there could be a delay in shipping.
“If it’s from the purchase date – the return policy – then you have to be cautious because it might be before the holidays hit,” Fleming explained.
She also advised shoppers to be aware of restocking fees and to always use a credit card when making online purchases.
The BBB gave these extra safety tips when holiday shopping online:
Keep your antivirus software up to date. Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, and that it is up to date. This will help you to avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams, while helping to 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.