by Andrew Johnson
Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Each year, Cyber Monday promises unbelievable savings – but before you start snagging deals, here are some tips to help you save money and protect your personal information:
- Know the seller and the item. Put the company or product name in a search engine, along with “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” Read the reviews. Be sure you can contact the seller if you have a dispute.
- Avoid clicking links in emails. Scammers know it’s Cyber Monday, too. Their phishing scams are after your money or personal information. If an unexpected email promises awesome online deals, don’t click on those embedded links. Check out the company first, confirm its web address, and type it in yourself.
- Pay by credit card. Credit cards give you extra protections – like the right to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment during an investigation. Whatever the deal might be, never mail cash or wire money to online sellers. And if a company insists you only pay with a gift card, it’s probably a scam.
- Ensure happy returns. What are the site’s return or exchange policies? Is there a re-stocking fee?
- Have a safe checkout. Look for a URL that starts with https. (The ‘s’ stands for secure). If there’s no ‘s,’ if you have doubts, or if you’re asked to email payment info, leave the site.
- Keep records. Print or save records of online transactions until you get the goods. Keep the product description and price, receipt, return policy, and any emails related to your purchase.
For more ways to help ensure a successful Cyber Monday, check out our article on shopping tips.