Black Friday is closing in and so, ready or not, the holiday shopping season is upon us. Each year more Americans shop online and Carri Grube Lybarker of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs says you need to be careful, especially when shopping for deals that may be too good to be true.
Lybarker says, if you shop online, beware of e-mails from unfamiliar sources or those pop up and other internet offers that are actually scams designed to steal your private information like credit card numbers and other information that could lead to your identity being stolen.
AUDIO: Lybarker says be on guard for deals that sound too good to be true
A new way to shop online is through what are called online “penny auctions,” where bidders will pay-per-bid on a timed auction. Lybarker says these “auctions” sound like they are really good way to shop for those hot items for the holiday, but the deals may not end up being as you may first think.
AUDIO: Lybarker says multiple bids add up
Lybarker says before you actually make a purchase online, make sure you obtain important information about the company where you are about to make a purchase with. Also, when asking about refund policies, find out if the consumer gets a store credit online, will they get money back, and if there is a time period in which they have to request a refund.
Lybarker says you should make sure to have the proper protection software for your computer, especially if you’re shopping extensively online. Lybarker cautions parents to share with their kids the do’s and don’ts of shopping online.
AUDIO: Lybarker says make sure the online businesses you’re dealing with are reputable