When carefully selecting a perfect gift for your loved ones this season, be sure to also carefully select where you will be shopping, and what information you are giving out.
Jeremy Johnson with the Better Business Bureau in Idaho Falls gave us five things to watch out for.
Watch prices while in-store shopping
Johnson said that when shopping and looking at ads in stores to make sure to especially do research on sale items.
“You might see like a television on sale and it’s at this certain price, well at some stores they have so many of that item, or the sale only goes so long, or the item isn’t returnable,” she said.
Be sure to do research on those items you’re looking to buy so you know exactly what you are getting, and you understand the terms for the sale you are trying to get.
Online shopping has another other realm full of potential problems. The first being you might not even be on the website you think you are on.
Many con and scam artists will set up websites that look similar to the site you are trying to reach. When identifying these sites first check in the website address bar. There should be an https, with the “s” being the most important part of the site.
“That means that site is secure,” Johnson said. ”It has been properly encrypted to protect your files or your information.”
Other things a person could look out for are typos and the logo.
Gift cards are another popular gifting item, however, even these can be tampered with.
Scammers can find ways to take information from gift cards that are not fully packaged and many will take the PIN off the card and then when you activate the card they are able to spend the money off of the card before you.
“It’s just very important when buying a gift card to make sure it doesn’t look like it has been tampered with, or the card with the number or the PIN couldn’t be accessed by anyone else,” Johnson said.
Phishing Fed-Ex Emails
There is a scam going around right now where a person might get an email from what looks like Fed-Ex saying a package is late.
The email will then direct you to put your personal information in a form from the email.
“Many of us are looking out the window or checking our phones to see if that delivery has come in,” Johnson said. “Just be very careful about anything coming into your inbox that is asking you to put in your personal information or your financial information.”
Johnson said these kinds of people know what is happening in the world and will try to take advantage of our sense of urgency.
Donating to Charities
“We at the Better Business Bureau just want you to do some research and make sure that those funds and that money that you are donating are going to the cause and what you would like it to go to,” Johnson said.
She recommends calling the charity to ask exactly what the money goes to. There are several questions you can ask.
• Are there any overhead costs?
• Does this money stay local?
• Does this money go nationwide?
• Where does this money exactly go?
The BBB has a special charity section called give.org where you can look online to see how different charities work.
Reporting a Scam
If you have been scammed or have other complaints about your shopping this season contact the BBB scam tracking website at bbb.org/scamtracker.
You can also contact the BBB by calling or going to its website and filling out a complaint form.
Johnson also recommends leaving a review on a business's site.
“Just do the research and if something seems a little off just take the time to stop and make sure you are protecting your personal and financial information,” Johnson said.