BBB warns of online scams during holiday shopping

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 10:13 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in our rearview, many have started their holiday shopping and others may be getting ready to.

“First thing is to always make sure that you do your homework. You want to check around and make sure you are getting the quality of merchandise that you want, at the price that you want. Don’t just jump at the first thing that you see and always deal with reputable sites if you are shopping online,” Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of the BBB serving Western Virginia, said.

Experts expect billions of dollars in sales for the holiday season, with many of those sales happening virtually.

“Make sure your computer is properly protected, that you have malware and virus protection on there,” Wheeler explained. “Only use a credit card.”

Wheeler said using a credit card will make it easier to dispute a purchase if something goes wrong.

“You can always dispute a charge with a credit card, most of them allow you 60 days from the time of the purchase. If you don’t receive the merchandise you can absolutely dispute it. If there are other issues that you are having, didn’t arrive on time, it was not how it was presented, you can dispute those charges as well,” Wheeler said.

Whether you are shopping online or at the mall, make sure you know the return policy before you buy.

“Charged back to your credit card or cashback? Is it only store credit? Is there any type of restocking fee involved? What is the time frame? A lot of stores have a limited time frame for which you can return things,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said one-third of all the scams reported to the BBB’s scam tracker is related to online shopping. She said 80% of scams reported to the BBB result in a loss of money for consumers.

For more information on how to avoid holiday shopping scams, click here.

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