The annual lineup of designated shopping and giving days that follow Black Friday is looming. By now most know that Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday are big events. Your Better Business Bureau has an overview of tips and advice for Cyber Monday shoppers and for those who plan to help worthwhile charities on Giving Tuesday.
Getting the most out
of Cyber Monday
The National Retail Federation’s early November survey says 62.8 million consumers plan to shop online on Nov. 29, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Many are motivated by low prices, but there’s an additional reason this year: supply chain disruptions that will likely impact the holidays. Regardless of your motivations, there are important considerations you should be aware of.
Here is advice from your BBB:
• False advertising and phony websites can diminish a shopping experience. If you see the hot item of the year at an unrealistically low price, that deal is probably too good to be true. Your payment could result in a delivery that never comes. Be sure the website is legitimate and not a phony, lookalike site. To check, look carefully at the web address. Make sure that it contains the “s” in HTTPS; the “s” stands for secure. Other clues that it may not be a legitimate site include incorrect spelling, and illegitimate contact information and service numbers.
• Check any business that you are not familiar with at bbb.org, where you can find BBB Business Profiles.
• Keep your antivirus software up to date. This is extra insurance against non-secure sites and pop-up phishing scams. All a scammer needs is you to click on a link, which allows them to install malware on your device and steal your personal information.
• Take the time to compare online prices. Factoring in shipping costs!
• Pay with a credit card for easier resolution of potential disputes. Debit cards don’t provide that.
• Policies may be different for Cyber Monday bargains, so check return policies for specific items.
• Get gift receipts.
• Beware of unsolicited emails, texts, calls, and letters telling you about “great offers.” This is a favorite method of scammers on phishing expeditions.
Giving confidently on Giving Tuesday
The annual day designated for charitable donations first occurred in 2012. Since then, it has resulted in over a billion dollars contributed to charities.
Make your contributions count by doing this:
• Look up a charity at BBB’s website devoted to evaluating them: Give.org. Using 20 standards of accountability, you can learn about a charity’s effectiveness, reputation and transparency.
• Know the exact name of a charity you wish to contribute to. Watch out for groups that may be trying to trick you with a sound-alike name.
• Visit the charity’s direct website to learn of its mission, programs and measurable goals, as well as its accounts of accomplishments and finances.
• This time of year, there are many on-the-spot requests for charitable giving. With emotional appeals, they try to tug at your heartstrings. Instead of giving quickly and off-the-cuff, tell them you’ll consider it, then research the charity. Responsible organizations will not mind this.
• If you desire a tax deduction for your gift, visit IRS.gov to be sure the organization is one that qualifies. There you may use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool.
The saying is, “’Tis better to give than to receive.” Most of us do both. Undoubtedly, ‘tis better to do your research first. BBB wants to help by fielding your questions. Call BBB at (800) 856-2417 or visit our website at BBB.org.