To make sure you don't get yourself into online trouble on Cyber Monday, the Better Business Bureau has a few reminders and suggestions for you as you shop around.
- Make sure you are on the real website before you buy. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website. For example, you would want to see 'walmart.com' in your URL bar, not 'walmartstores.com' or something similar. While you are at it, check the web address before you add your personal information. You want to see https. That extra “s” stands for secure, and you’ll also see a security lock icon on the bar.
Pay with a credit card. It offers more protection against fraud than a debit card. 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.
Another online trend is Giving Tuesday, the day after Cyber Monday. While the BBB Wise Giving Alliance can help you identify worthwhile charities and organizations to give to, keep these things in mind when you donate:
When multiple charities support the same cause, their names can be similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to receive your gift.
- Be cautious of charities that don’t share key information about their organization. You may want to find out exactly how your dollar will be used, like how much of it will stay local. Look at the whole picture; a charity with impressive financial ratios could have other points of concern for you.
- Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today. The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don’t succumb to pressure to make an immediate giving decision.
- Be wary of emotional appeals. Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.