With more consumers shopping online, it’s important to keep you and your information safe. Photo: BBB.

Don’t let the Grinch steal Christmas

Holiday shopping is in full swing, and scammers are out in full force, so beware

What many consider to be the most wonderful time of the year is now here, and the Christmas shopping season is in high gear, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday already in the rear-view mirror. Black Friday has become the biggest consumer magnet of the year, with more than 45 per cent of Canadians spending more on this day than on Boxing Day.

Consumers are increasingly utilizing the benefits of online transactions, with 20 per cent of all online shopping for the year taking place from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday. Bargain hunters were out in force, and the shopping will continue through Dec. 24.

Scammers are also out in force at this time of year, trying to take away some of that holiday cheer. Whether you choose to walk from store to store, or shop online from the comfort of your home, here are a few safe shopping tips to keep in mind at Christmas and throughout the year.

“Deals that seem too good to be true are usually just that,” says Karla Davis, Manager of Community and Public Relations at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Mainland BC. “Ridiculously priced or discounted electronics (eg. iPhones at $20) and high-end designer clothing are typically used by scammers to attract consumers, who are seduced into making big purchases and releasing confidential financial information such as credit card numbers. Do not be afraid to research before you buy.”

Beware of unsolicited emails from scammers who target shoppers by using the names of popular and trusted brands. Check website links for very subtle changes to the domain name (for example, www.ebay.com, which is correct, as opposed to www.ebay.ml). Look out for misspellings and bad grammar on websites, and avoid clicking strange links.

Pay attention to the emails you receive the day after you have made an online purchase. Every year, scammers send bulk messages pretending to be from Amazon, Fedex, UPS, and other popular retailers and carriers, requesting that you re-submit personal or financial information due to a supposed issue with your order.

Check the store’s return policy and warranty information before purchasing, whether you’re shopping online or in a bricks-and-mortar store. Be aware that many stores only offer refunds or exchanges for a limited time after purchase, and may restrict the hours that items can be returned or exchanged during the busy Christmas season. Also, ensure you request a gift receipt so that you or the recipient can exchange the gift if there’s a problem.

Use reputable payment portals such as Paypal or Verified by Visa and avoid purchasing items using cash if possible. Making payments with your credit card gives you the best chance of recovery if there is a problem down the road.

Do not send money transfers to people you do not know, and never use public Wi-Fi to do your online shopping. Before sending any personal information over the Internet, ensure the website has “https://” at the beginning of its web address. The “s” indicates that the website is secure for financial transactions and that your personal information will be encrypted.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Input sought from Cache Creek businesses on Downtown Vision plan

Attracting and retaining employees and businesses are priorities

Community Futures gets more funding to continue business support program

Programs such as Business Ambassadors help small businesses, not-for-profits, and First Nations

Make Children First’s CareFairs are going out with a bang

Folllowing changes to funding, upcoming CareFairs in the region will be the last ones ever held

Support available for those looking after loved ones with dementia

Despite the growing number of people with dementia, a stigma still surrounds it

Million Dollar Bursary program is back, but only until end of month

There’s still time for qualifying students to apply for this year’s bursaries

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

Most Read