November 25, 2012

Beware of scams this Cyber Monday

PLATTSBURGH — Cyber Monday provides shoppers with an opportunity to skip the lines at stores and do some holiday shopping from the comfort of their home.

But online scammers may try to take advantage of the unsuspecting shopper on the popular shopping day, as well as year-round.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is, warns the Better Business Bureau.

The best bargains are usually available throughout the holiday season and are not confined to a couple of days, says Scambook, an online organization dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud.

Whether people are donating or shopping, they shouldn’t make impulse donations or purchases, advises the Better Business Bureau. The organization recommends doing some research before making a transaction to be sure a business or charity is reputable, by looking up the company on their website to confirm their physical location and telephone number.

Phony sellers on auction sites can deceive consumers. So when shopping on Craigslist or similar sites, the Better Business Bureau advises buying from a local seller so the transaction can be done in person. Consumers shouldn’t wire money as payment and when shopping on auction sites like eBay, they should look at seller ratings and reviews before making a purchase, the Better Business Bureau recommends.

And Scambook says shoppers and donators should regularly monitor their bank accounts so a suspicious transaction can be spotted early. It’s also important to save all receipts so there is a record of each purchase in case it is needed later.

Email addresses can also be the target of phishing scams where hackers aim to get personal information. Check the email address of the sender of e-cards or other unfamiliar emails, says the Better Business Bureau. Grammatical errors could indicate a phishing email. They recommend consumers have current antivirus software installed on their computers.

To look up businesses and charities on the Better Business Bureau’s website, go to To file a complaint with Scambook, go to

Email Felicia Krieg:

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