Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is one of the biggest days of the year for online sales. On Cyber Monday 2018, online retailers raked in over $6 billion through16 million mobile shopping transactions. Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to remind consumers to be mindful of their online transactions during the holiday season.

“There has been an average 28% year over year uptick in Cyber Monday shopping, and this trend is not likely going to end,” Mechele Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “Unfortunately, this also means an increase in online fraud, so it will be even more important to be shop wisely and securely whenever you shop online.”

BBB offers the following tips to have a safe Cyber Monday shopping experience:

Test your “Digital IQ.” Get ready for Cyber Monday by taking our fun, 12-question quiz that challenges you to check what you already know about Savvy Shopping. Learn about managing your digital privacy and the value you get from sharing data online.

Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time, and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy during the holidays, as some stores have different return policies depending on the item you purchase and when trying to return an item you purchased online. Although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees.

Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. Check out bbb.org to read more about stores or websites unfamiliar to you.

Trust but verify. When shopping online, use retail websites that you trust. Use common sense and avoid deals that seem “too good to be true.” If you’re shopping with an unfamiliar retailer, visit bbb.org to read customer reviews and learn more about previous customers’ experiences.

Use updated anti-virus software. To ensure your computer and personal information are safe, use anti-virus software on your computer or mobile device and keep it up-to-date.

Shop with a credit card. A credit card provides additional protections over a debit card in case of fraudulent transactions. If your card number is compromised, it’s easier to dispute any charges that you didn’t approve. Prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card, but you’ll never lose more than the value of the card itself.

Make sure websites are secure. Only share personal information and your credit card number with websites that are https (the extra “s” stands for secure) and that have a security lock icon in the task bar.

Be careful of phishing scams. A popular one at this time of year is an email claiming to be from a package- delivery company with links to tracking information (clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft).

For more advice on staying safe this holiday season or to share your experience with a business, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call BBB at (903) 581-5704 or report it via BBB Scam Tracker.

About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties

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