Cyber Monday 2020: Protect your money from scammers

Cyber Monday is here and the savings are big, but before you click 'buy,' here are some tips to make sure you don't get scammed.

Online retailers offering so many great deals on Cyber Monday, but along with all of those legit businesses, tons of fake websites that look like a legit business ready to take your money. First, you need to make sure you're buying on a secure site. Look at their web address and make sure it starts with HTTPS, with the 's' meaning it's secure. Also, make sure you see the lock icon in the browser. On Apple products, the entire URL should be highlighted green.

As you're scrolling through social media and see an ad for a hot item you must have, resist clicking buy until you research that company.

A Holly Springs woman recently got ripped off when she saw an ad for Crocs on Facebook and clicked on it. She thought she was buying directly from the Crocs company, buying authentic Crocs. But after buying online, she realized it was a copycat website and after paying for the order, saw the online invoice that shows she bought clogs, not Crocs. The copycat site offers big savings but in reality, the company has nothing to do with Crocs, just using the retailer's images.

This woman tried to cancel the order within the timeframe the website claims is allowed, but the company emailed her that the order had already been processed and she can't cancel.

Catherine Honeycutt with the BBB of Eastern NC said, "It might come across with very discounted prices or a limited offer enticing you to click on it. Unfortunately, when you click on it goes to a website that is seemingly legitimate, scammers are really good at what they do so they are able to mimic sites."

Here are other tips to protect yourself on Cyber Monday. You should be wary of too good to be true prices. Next, look for spelling and grammatical errors on the website. Before buying, you need to take a look at the return policy or guarantee if the product arrives damaged. Also, always pay with a credit card that offers the most protection if you get ripped off.

You also need to be aware that during the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping times are expected to take much longer. It's a good idea to track your packages. Follow shipments from the seller to your front door with online, text message, or phone call tracking offered through the delivery company.

Sign up for alerts to be notified of delays or exceptions and when the package has been delivered. You can also request a signature. This package delivery feature will likely come with a fee, but without a recipient's signature, the delivery service won't be able to leave a package exposed on a doorstep.
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