BBB warns against holiday scams on Cyber Monday

Published 5:46 pm Friday, November 23, 2018


Press release

Although the Black Friday rush is over, there are still several scams consumers need to be wary of come Cyber Monday.

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In 2017, online transactions on Cyber Monday reached a record $6.59 billion, a 16.8 percent increase over the previous year. Online shopping can be easy and convenient…but BBB has seen too many consumers get taken by ordering what looked like a great deal only to be left with no item and no money. Better Business Bureau has this advice for online shoppers this holiday season.

• Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, take your time, and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy during the holidays, as some stores have different return policies depending on the item you purchase. If the online merchant also has bricks-and-mortar locations, ask if it is possible to return items to the physical location. Some online orders can be returned for a full refund; others have re-stocking fees.

• Trust but verify. When shopping online, use retail websites that you trust. Use common sense and avoid deals that seem “too good to be true.” Always check to see where the business is physically located.  If the only way to contact it is via email, that’s a red flag. If you’re shopping with an unfamiliar retailer, check it out at

• Use anti-virus software. To ensure your computer and personal information are safe, use anti-virus software on your computer or mobile device and keep it up-to-date. If in public, don’t use websites containing personal information (bank, credit card) on public wi-fi, as that information could be picked up by an identity thief.

• Shop with a credit card. A credit card provides additional protections over a debit card in case of fraudulent transactions. If your card number is compromised, it’s easier to dispute any charges that you didn’t approve. Prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card, but you’ll never lose more than the value of the card itself.

• Make sure websites are secure. Only share personal information and your credit card number with websites that are https (the extra “s” stands for secure) and that have a security lock icon in the task bar.

• Be careful of phishing scams. A popular one at this time of year is an email claiming to be from a package- delivery company with links to tracking information (clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft).

For more information on holiday season topics, visit Consumers may report scams to BBB Scam Tracker at