BBB: Be aware of these holiday scams

BBB advice for Black Friday Shopping

(KFVS) - It’s officially the season of shopping and giving and the Better Business Bureau has some tips on things you need to look out for.

Black Friday Shoppers

If you’re planning on going out for Black Friday, the BB has some advice for you before you head out to shop.

The first tip is, have a budget and resist buying items you don’t want or need.

If you're buying gifts for someone else make sure to get a gift receipt and if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Whitney Quick, the regional director for the BBB, said the most important thing is to do your research, “You really need to do your research and go out and go into these crazy crowds make sure that you know what you’re looking for don’t always rely on a picture make sure everything matches check your warranties make sure that if there is an issue that you can bring it back there might be restocking fees will there be extra shipping fees I mean these are all things you need to know before you go out on black Friday,” Quick said. Quick also suggests using credit cards to pay, because you can dispute charges a lot easier than when you use your checking account.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is Monday, Nov. 26 this year and it’s one of the biggest online shopping days and the BBB has some tips on you can safely shop online.

Make sure to protect your computer by installing a firewall, antivirus or anti spyware software.

Whitney Quick with the BBB says to also be aware of too good to be true deals, if it seems unreal, it probably is.

She also said you want to look for the h-t-t-p-s in the url, the s stands for secure.

“Be very careful of the sites that you shop on a make sure they are secure and always use a credit card because it’s way harder to get that money back in then when you use a credit card,” said Quick. The BBB has a list of trustworthy websites and businesses, click here for the list.

Giving Tuesday

Charities around the world promote "Giving Tuesday" it's the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and they use it as a way to encourage donors to give leading into the holiday season.

The BBB encourages people to give but to do it wisely.

Regional director Whitney Quick said don't hesitate to ask the charity for written information about its programs and finances.

She also said to find out what portion of your donation actually benefits the charity, but most importantly make sure you are giving to something you care about.

“Make sure that you are donating to something that you agree with so if you need to look into charities you can go to give.org and check out those,” said Quick.

The BBB also has a list of accredited charities on their website.

Secret Sister Exchange

You may have seen “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” Facebook posts going around, asking you to buy a gift for at least 10-dollars for a stranger in exchange for dozens of gifts in return.

It seems harmless, right? But the Better Business Bureau says it's not only a scam, it’s also illegal. They say there's no guarantee you'll receive the gifts promised to you.

Plus, in order to participate you need to provide personal information, like your home address.

The U.S. Postal Service says this type of gift chain is illegal because it falls into the “chain letter” category. Regional Director Whitney Quick says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You can always go to B-B-B’s website and use its “Scam Tracker” tool.

“If somebody tags you or send it to you on Facebook, just ignore it or you can report it because they are illegal and we do need to stop that,” said Quick. It’s also never a good idea to give out personal information online especially to a stranger.

If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, report it to the BBB.

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