As most people know, Monday was Cyber Monday. It's a similar concept to Black Friday, except you don't step foot in a store or deal with crowds. Making purchases over the internet gets more popular every year. Last year alone, 96.5 million Americans shopped online during Cyber Monday, while only 79 million shopped in the stores on Black Friday. That's according to the National Retail Federation. But as we enter the holiday season, there are many “scammers” creating websites to try and steal your personal information. So how can you tell what's safe and what's not?
The convenience of shopping online allowed many people to sleep in on Black Friday while others waited with the masses at retail stores.
"Online is growing every year. We're expecting probably a 40% increase, Best Buy is this year...on online purchases," Cecil Kelley, Supervisor of the Best Buy Geek Squad, said Monday.
"Consumers are able to avoid the hassle of going on Black Friday, so they're able to get all those great deals...not have to do the shopping in stores, and have it sent to their homes," Trish Powell, CEO of the Better Business Bureau, said.
But there are advantages to shopping in stores. For instance, you actually take your merchandise home with you as soon as the purchase is complete. Shopping online can have advantages too...as long as you do it safely.
"You want to make sure that your computer has all of the current software that protects it...anti-virus and things like that," Powell said.
And make sure you're shopping on a secure site.
"There's several different companies that do this for websites. VeriSign is one of the major ones. Cyber-E, which is what Best Buy uses on their website, puts a padlock up in your right hand of the browser if it's a secure site," Kelley said.
Once you've made sure it's secure, it never hurts to see if there's a history of complaints.
"Some companies are legitimate, but they just don't have really great customer service. You can check that and see if that's been a concern for consumers in the past," Powell said.
There was expected to be a 15 to 20 percent increase from last year when it came to shopping online, and it went on all day. Something else to keep in mind when browsing for deals...if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.
You can search for legitimate companies and see their complaint history online at www.BBB.com. That's something you can do anytime you shop online...not just for Cyber Monday.