While some North Country residents would never consider setting foot in a store on Thanksgiving, thousands of other local people are already planning their annual “Black Friday” shopping strategy.
Black Friday will have to get a new name in future years, if the 2013 retail scenario is any indication.
Most major big-box stores around the area will be open at least part of the day on Thursday. The anchor stores at Champlain Centre mall will all be open Thanksgiving evening, with the other stores following by 10 p.m.
Many consumers will also be looking for special sales online a few days later on Cyber Monday.
But whether you shop online or in stores, be warned that unscrupulous people are out there looking to pocket some of your money.
Scambook, an online complaint-resolution site, is warning consumers about this holiday season’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday scams. Here’s a look at a few ripoffs from 2012 that are expected again this year, as detailed by Scambook:
Free $1,000 Best Buy gift card text message: Scammers text consumers to offer a $1,000 Best Buy gift card when they enter a code, delivered through text, on BestBuyContest.com and BestBuyWin.net. This year’s scam may reference Best Buy or a different retailer, such as Target or Wal-Mart.
Fake leaked Black Friday ads: Scammers exploit the trust people have for corporate brands, leaking supposed ads offering downloadable coupons. These emails — which people in Plattsburgh have already reported seeing — are actually a phishing scheme designed to steal personal information or install malware on consumers’ computers.
False videos and eCards carrying viruses: Emails sent through social-media platforms are a popular scheme during the holidays, a time when friends and family share seasonal video clips or send eCards. Fake videos and eCards may contain viruses designed to infect the recipients’ computer or steal information.
Google searches: Fraudsters can create fake retail sites on even the most trusted of search engines, causing their sites to appear next to other legitimate search results.
To keep yourself from getting scammed, follow these recommendations from Scambook:
Shop with a prepaid debit card. They offer the same anti-fraud protection as regular credit cards and keep users on budget.
Stick to trusted sites. Search for customer reviews on Google and check Scambook.com for complaints about the site before placing any order.
Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. They usually are.
Use a different password. When asked to create an account to purchase from an online retailer on Cyber Monday, use a password unique from all your others to protect other email and bank accounts.
Use a secure Internet browser. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are safe and recommended.
Never open email attachments. Especially avoid links to outside websites, videos from unknown sources and attachments that ask for personal information.