Cyber Monday shopping safety tips

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Cyber Monday--  The Monday after Thanksgiving has officially replaced Black Friday-- the day after Thanksgiving, as the most popular day to shop for the holidays.  Shopping online means avoiding the crowds, but it also opens the buyer up to attacks from scammers and hackers.  In order to fight these online grinches, the Better Business Bureau recommends for staying safe when holiday shopping online.

Every year, more people head online, rather than the mall to get their holiday shopping done.  Last year, 96.5 million Americans shopped online during Cyber Monday while 79 million Americans shopped at brick and mortar retailers on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

Here are some important questions to ask:

Know the company's refund and return policies before ordering. Are there restocking fees? Do you have to pay shipping costs on returns?

Do not rely on pictures of a product on a website. Read the description and check model numbers, if applicable.

Be cautious of free or very-low-price offers. Often, free offers are followed by an open-ended enrollment in a program that automatically bills your credit card account every month. Before ordering anything online, make sure you click on and read all terms and conditions.

Pay with a credit card whenever possible. That way, you can challenge the charge in the event of a dispute. Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out when the seller intends to ship it and if possible, how it will be shipped. Watch for Fake FedEx, UPS, USPS Delivery Verification/Cancellation Notices in INBOX.

Jason Reno, with the Geek Squad at Best buy says, "the number one thing you can do is make sure you have current anti-virus, make sure you know where you're going, and its where you want to be. Never save your information on your computer and don't save your passwords.'

Norma Miller with the Better Business Bureau also says  "you don't want something shipped from overseas possibly...because it's probably not going to get here...Find out what their shipping policies are and make sure they're a trust worthy company."

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