WEST MICHIGAN — Just like the turkey and stuffing, a big part of this long weekend's holiday festivities includes shopping!
Today is Black Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year, followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
But as we shop till we drop, thieves are ready and waiting to cash in on Christmas.
As many scour the stores for the perfect presents to pop under the tree, the Better Business Bureau says, make sure you stock up on patience and understanding first. We all need to keep in mind that those stores may not have the product in stock so the shelves may be a bit more empty than you're anticipating. And with employee shortages, those lines will be a little longer. Katie Grevious, Communications Specialist with the BBB says, "Be patient and definitely have some empathy for those stores that are definitely trying to get you the products you want but may not have the means to do so."
Empty shelves may drive more people to shop from home. But that comes with a whole new set of concerns. Katie says, "We know that there's going to be product shortages and shipping delays and so do the scammers. So they are definitely going to be watching for those hot ticket items and when they're sold out everywhere, they're going to take those images, post them online and offer them for an extremely discounted price. So if you see a deal that's way too good to be true it is and you should definitely avoid it."
Scammers have gotten so good, you really do need to pay attention, and in some cases do a little homework. Grevious suggests looking them up on bbb.org to see what their rating is and how they work with their customers. Consumers can track to see if other people have had issues with maybe not getting products or if payments have been hacked. Once you get to checkout, there's one more rule to keep in mind. Grevious says, "It's going to say https: at the top and that means the website is secure and that you know when you enter your information, someone is not going to steal it. It's always best to use a credit card because credit cards are really easy to work with to get your money back."
One surefire way to not get scammed, support those small, local businesses - make shopping an event with friends and family to hit up the stores around West Michigan.