How to avoid getting scammed on Cyber Monday

Posted at 9:59 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 22:07:52-05

(WXMI) — The pandemic may have cut down on Black Friday crowds, but this Cyber Monday could break records.

Cyber Monday grows every year, and many people don’t want to go into stores due to the pandemic, notes Troy Baker of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s.

“This year really is shaping up to be one of the biggest online shopping years ever,” Baker adds.

The BBB advises caution while shopping online. With billions of dollars in online sales expected on Monday alone, scammers are looking to take advantage.

Be wary of links on social media.

“More and more, we're seeing complaints from people who are scrolling through Facebook, scrolling through Instagram,” Baker said. “They see something, they click on it and buy it, and then it never shows up.”

“Often these are websites that you've never heard of, you've never used before. They pop up take your money and disappear. Just because it's on social media does not mean it's safe.”

It's likely you’ll score some big deals, but if the sale seems too good to be true, it probably is.

To protect yourself, make sure you know who you’re buying from, and stick to trusted retailers.

“There are some fantastic deals out there for Cyber Monday, but most of them are very similar, especially for those hot items,” Baker said. “Sales are usually within a few dollars of each other for the most part. If you see something that's significantly cheaper than everywhere else, that's a big red flag.”

For added protection, when you do decide to finalize your purchase, go with your credit card rather than other ways of payment. “If you buy something with a credit card, you have protections from the credit card company," Baker explained. “If that transaction goes bad, you can dispute the charge and often get your money back, It might take a couple weeks, but there's a process in place to get your money back if that item doesn't show up or if it's not as ordered.”

"If you use a debit card, if you send a check, if you do a wire transfer, if you use a gift card, that money is often gone, and it's harder to get back,” Baker added.

Shoppers should also take a close look at shipping times. Because of the pandemic, shipping could take longer to get to your home for certain items.