Friday, November 26, 2010

Savvy How To - Cyber Monday Online Shopping Safety

Phew, for me, the hysteria of Black Friday has passed in the night like a herd of buffalo on a midnight stampede!  Black Friday sales are truly the rush of adrenaline some of us need to kick off our holiday shopping. You may have snagged a few hot deals, and quite possibly you missed out on a few amazing deals that were targeted by thousands of other holiday shoppers.  If you’re disappointed in your Black Friday gift haul never fear, more spectacular discount shopping days are here. 

Cyber Monday – Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the newer, hipper Black Friday, one might say. With some of the hottest prices of the year, online retailers typically offer similar savings to Black Friday sales, but you can shop from the comfort and warmth of your own home!  Online shopping does require some additional safety preparations though.

-Make sure your computer has the most recent updates installed for anti-virus and anti-spyware software and spamware!

- Shop ONLY on trustworthy, well-known websites. Some deals from unfamiliar websites may just be to good to be true.

- Confirm your online purchase is secure. Always look in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying. “If there are any doubts about a site, BBB recommends right-clicking anywhere on the page and selecting “Properties.” This will reveal the page’s real URL (website address) to ensure it matches the URL in the browser’s address bar. If they don’t match, you may have been directed to a fake, potentially dangerous website.”

- Pay with Paypal. Paypal allows you to shop without sharing your financial information with every site you visit.  Setting up an account is free and easy.  Just transfer money into a  PayPal account via moneypak, debit or credit and use the money to pay for all your purchases.  Retailers never see your bank or credit card information when you use PayPal

- Keep Records. Always save a copy of purchase confirmations and emails, just to be sure.  If you have trouble with a delivery, all contact information should be provided in your confirmation.

Week Before Christmas – Most retailers began offering discounted holiday items around Halloween, but if you’re a procrastinator you may be in luck!   Historically, the week before Christmas has some of the hottest prices of the year for last minute Christmas gifts!  Sure, stores will be jam packed with throngs of last minute deals seekers and lines will undoubtedly be long, but if you’ve got the patience you can score some great deals!  Watch for retailers to slash prices on anything from TVs to sweaters just days before Santa is scheduled to arrive.

Catch the Christmas Spirit and a few great deals in the process as you shop for holiday gifts this year.  But, most of all, don’t get caught going over pre-set personal budget limits.  There’s nothing worse than starting the year in debt!  

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