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How to avoid getting scammed on Cyber Monday

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 22:38:38-05

The pandemic may have cut down on Black Friday crowds, but this Cyber Monday could be record breaking.

"You take into account the fact that it's increasing every year and then the pandemic which has a number of people not wanting to go into stores, the crowds instead do their shopping online,” Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan’s Troy Baker said.

“This year really is shaping up to be one of the biggest online shopping years ever,” Baker added.

With billions of dollars in online sales expected on Monday alone, scammers are looking to take advantage.

To protect yourself make sure you know who you’re buying from and stick to trusted retailers, be wary of links on social media.

“More and more we're seeing complaints from people who are scrolling through Facebook, scrolling through Instagram they see something, they click on it and buy it, and then it never shows up,” Baker said.

“Often these are websites that you've never heard of, you've never used before, they pop up take your money and disappear. Just because it's on social media does not mean it's safe,” Baker added.

It's likely you’ll score some big deals, but if the sale seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“There are some fantastic deals out there for Cyber Monday, but most of them are very similar, especially for those hot items. Sales are usually within a few dollars of each other for the most part, if you see something that's significantly cheaper than everywhere else that's a big red flag,” Baker said.

When you do decide to finalize your purchase, for added protection go with your credit card rather than other ways of payment.

“If you buy something with a credit card, you have protections from the credit card company. If that transaction goes bad, you can dispute the charge and often get your money back, it might take a couple weeks, but there's a process in place to get your money back if that item doesn't show up or if it's not as ordered," Baker explained.

"If you use a debit card, if you send a check, if you do a wire transfer, if you use a gift card, that money is often gone and it's harder to get back,” Baker added.

Shoppers should also take a close look at shipping times, because of the pandemic it could take longer for certain items to get to your home.