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Don’t let scammers get on your list this holiday shopping season

Business & Money

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The following is a news release from the Better Business Bureau.

IDAHO FALLS – As the song says, it is the most wonderful time of the year. A time to focus on family and sharing what makes life special. But holiday gift-giving comes at a price. According to marketing research firm EMarketer, for the first time ever, holiday spending this season will total over one trillion dollars. That’s trillion with a capital T. Cyber Monday alone makes up 10 billion of that. While the brick and mortar stores will be offering many great deals, a majority of Americans will be doing much of their shopping online.

Before you jump behind that keyboard seeking that perfect gift, Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific wants you to consider first, if those quick clicks are putting your financial and personal information at risk. One of the major risks of online shoppers is misleading advertisements. Those who are looking for that amazing deal are easily lured by these fake ads. Too often that leads to counterfeit merchandise, or consumers simply being left empty-handed. Another way these advertisements trap you is mimicking ads from major retailers but leading to false websites.

These may even come as a pop-up, which can be combatted by keeping your antivirus software up to date. This helps you avoid non-secure websites and phishing scams, keeping personal information safe and avoiding ransonware. Even when shopping on your phone, you can download security apps that increase protection and provides antivirus defense on your phone.

RELATED TOPIC: Shopping Online Safely

Note: This podcast was first published in 2018

Americans will spend an average of $1,048 over the holiday season, not including the cost of travel, according to a recent study from the National Retail Federation. So as you are spending your holiday budget, BBB recommends making online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection, and those that do, often put the burden on the consumer to sort and prove which charges are theirs and which are not.

Also, just in case Grandma doesn’t love that antique bird feeder, there are some things you need to know ahead of time. Definitely read the return policies so you understand how to return items purchased online and what costs are involved, such as re-stocking fees, shipping and handling costs, etc. If you bought an item on a special sale, you may only have a few days to return it.

Following these simple tips will help make your holiday season merry and bright. For more tips from the Better Business Bureau, click here.