The Holiday shopping season is upon us. Whether you plan to hit the stores or go online, there are three major shopping events that have scammers ready to pounce.
The first in Black Friday. A number of businesses will be closed on Thanksgiving that have been open before because of the pandemic.
The other thing that is different, it’s more than one day, you might not find doorbusters because stores are trying to discourage crowds from gathering.
“So we’re going to tell you to read the fine print, especially as it relates to electronics because it can look like something’s got a great deal and the model number might not be the same, and so you really want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples,” said Jessie Schmidt of the Better Business Bureau.
Small Business Saturday is right around the corner too and it’s a chance for all of us to support local businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“You always want to keep in mind, what is the refund policy this time of year as well, some stores have a pretty limited return policy, especially if it’s a local store, they just don’t have the luxury of giving you a long return period, so you want to make sure it doesn’t fall in the time period between now and Christmas,” said Schmidt.
For Cyber Monday, the most common scam is the cloned website. A site designed to look just like the real thing. Spotting a cloned site isn’t always easy. A sure giveaway is if you look closely at the URL, there might be a slight difference between it and the real site. For example an “a” where there’s supposed to be an “e” or a period or dash that isn’t supposed to be there.
“We saw a whole lot of websites created this year that look like other sites, I can tell you one of the items that is most sold counterfeit goods on line is athletic apparel, so sports athletes, if you want a Mahomes jersey and its half the price you would pay anywhere else, I would really be very suspicious of that site,” Schmidt said.
Experts say Google Alerts is also a useful tool to help you determine if a website has been cloned. According to The Better Business Bureau, cloned websites often target shoppers looking for high ends items like jewelry and name brand purses.