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

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

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read