Black Friday may be over, but holiday shopping has just begun. Many people have foregone the chaos of the event entirely this year in favor of shopping for presents from the comfort of their home. Such persons are no doubt taking advantage of an event called Cyber Monday, in which retailers from around the country plan on offering online deals.
But just because you don’t have to brave the throngs of people crowding into the store doesn’t mean that safety should flag. In fact, one false move when shopping online could leave you susceptible to financial disaster. Someone may be able to get ahold of your credit card or bank account information, and suddenly purchasing gifts becomes difficult if not outright impossible.
The FBI intends to prevent such situations, and they’ve come out with a news release focused on this topic. In it, the agency addresses some of the ways that consumers can protect themselves from financial harm on Cyber Monday and well into the holiday season, and you should keep them in mind prior to making any online purchase.
First, get used to some of the red flags often associated with online shopping scams. One ICE Special Agent in Charge noted that location, quality, and price should be things to take into consideration prior to making a purchase. Basically, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it very well might be. When a standard electronic product that costs $300 is going for ten and its brand name has a spelling error, this may not be a wise purchase.
On a day like Cyber Monday, you want to stick with known retailers that you’re familiar with. Given the propensity for scams to pop up around the holiday season, this isn’t the time to branch out into uncharted waters.
If, however, you absolutely have your heart set on a deal or a given product only available from one place, then you must conduct your due diligence. Find out the exact address of the store you’re buying something from and give them a call. If none is available, then at the very least send an email questioning them on store policies. Then, get in touch with the Better Business Bureau to determine their stance on the retailer.
When you get ready to make a purchase, you can protect your bank account by not using a form of payment that takes money directly from the account. A credit card is safer in this regard because you may be able to cancel a credit card or dispute charges. If money is drained from your bank account, it can be much harder to get back.