Holiday shopping season fraud stats revealed

There’s a 1% decrease in suspected online retail fraud worldwide during the start of the 2020 holiday shopping season compared to the same period in 2019, a 59% increase from the same period in 2018 and a 14% increase from all of 2020 so far, TransUnion research reveals.

shopping season fraud stats

Holiday shopping season fraud stats

The findings are based on the same-store sales analysis of e-commerce customers during the traditional start of the global holiday shopping season, Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

These findings mirror the recent conclusions in the report that found 50% of U.S. consumers are concerned with being victimized by fraudsters this holiday season. The concern is relatively uniform across generations, though Gen X are the most worried about being victimized at 53%.

Heading into the holiday shopping season, the study conducted from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2020 found 37% of 9,515 consumers surveyed globally said they had been targeted by digital fraud related to COVID-19, a 28% increase from the same survey the week of April 13, 2020.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the move from offline to online transactions, detecting digital fraud attempts has become paramount for e-commerce providers,” said Shai Cohen, Sr. VP of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion.

“In order to avoid cart abandonment with all of these new sales opportunities, it is equally if not more important to ensure consumers are able to make friction-right digital transactions.”

Shopping fraud trends from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30

The percent of suspected fraudulent e-commerce transactions during the start of the holiday shopping season and entire year since 2018:

  • 15.54% from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30, 2020. 13.67% so far in 2020.
  • 15.70% from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, 2019. 9.80% all of 2019.
  • 9.76% from Nov. 22 to Nov. 26, 2018. 11.12% all of 2018.

The days with the highest percent of suspected fraudulent e-commerce transactions during the start of the 2020 holiday shopping season:

  • Cyber Monday, Nov. 30: 26.03%
  • Saturday, Nov. 28: 12.39%
  • Thanksgiving, Nov. 26: 12.29%
  • Black Friday, Nov. 27: 12.02%
  • Sunday, Nov. 29: 11.68%

The global countries/regions and U.S. cities where the highest percentage of suspected fraudulent e-commerce transactions originated from during the start of the 2020 holiday shopping season:


  • Puerto Rico: 44.4%
  • Greece: 30.9%
  • Hong Kong: 28.3%

U.S. city

  • San Francisco: 9.8%
  • Pittsburgh: 9.7%
  • Los Angeles: 9.6%

Mobile transaction and fraud trends

Also, consumers used a mobile phone or tablet for 58% of their online retail transactions during the start of the 2020 holiday shopping season. That is slightly down from 62% for the same period in 2019 and up from 55% for the same period in 2018.

For the holiday shopping weekend, retail transactions from a mobile phone compared to all e-commerce transactions were:

  • 62.84% on Saturday, Nov. 28
  • 62.68% on Sunday, Nov. 29
  • 60.09% on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26
  • 57.90% on Black Friday, Nov. 27
  • 50.37% on Cyber Monday, Nov. 30

“Customizing a transaction to the type of device a consumer is using contributes immensely to providing a smooth customer

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Retailers make safety preps for Christmas shopping season

DENVER (KDVR) — As the Christmas shopping season begins Denver Metro stores continue to ramp up their safety guidelines to help keep you safe.  

Many of them requiring you to wear a mask before you step inside. 

Big box stores and the largest sources of COVID-19 retail outbreaks in Colorado

The Problems Solvers have been checking with several stores to see how they plan to handle the Christmas Rush and keep you safe. In store after store the Problem Solvers found several large businesses posting warnings for customers to mask up. 

Jessica Nelson said, “It’s a little bit sad but I also feel safe.” 

At HomeGoods in Lakewood our Problem Solver Camera was not allowed in. But inside we saw a clerk at the entrance checking for masks.  

A HomeGoods spokesman told FOX31 the store is “enhancing cleaning regimens,” “limiting occupancy,” and “encouraging social distancing.”  

At Lowe’s our cameras were not allowed in the store either.  

In a statement, Lowe’s says one way it’s trying to keep shoppers safe is by offering free delivery for fresh trees. Lowe’s telling us stores are using a app to count customers and limit occupancy.  

Shopper Melissa Durfee said, “I love that they clean the carts for you. So, you don’t have to worry about when you grab your cart you go in and it’s clean.” 

Grocery Stores like Safeway offer sanitizing towels for carts and shields at registers. Inside the Problem Solvers found workers sanitizing carts. The store says its only allowing 50% capacity.  

Director of Public Affairs Kris Staaf said, “We’re looking at transactions during busy times. We’re counting how many people are in and out of store making sure we don’t have too many people in the store at any one given time.” 

In Westminster, small businesses at the Orchard Town Center have created an outdoor Christmas Village, where shoppers can stay safe. 

Kristiana Miller who co-owns a shop there called Whimsy Paint and Sip said the setting helps “enjoy the season and make it feel like Christmas in spite of the fact that things aren’t exactly the same right now.” 

Orchard Town Center has also set up multiple hand sanitizing stations around the property.  

Retailers are now hoping to avoid the usual last minute mad rush we’ve seen Christmas after Christmas.  

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Where to shop for Christmas gifts and more this holiday season

After a tumultuous year, the holiday season is finally upon us.

Whether you’re buying for a child, spouse or best friend, we’ve created a list of locally made items and places to visit. Check it out.

Clothing and Jewelry

Bittersweet Ivy Boutique sells woman’s clothing, jewelry, shoes and more ranging from $6 to $119. Receive 10% off your first online order and free shipping on purchases of $40 or more. 6990 Main St., 469-475-8001,

Blue Door Boutique sells jewelry, home décor, candles, furniture, wall art, special-ordered tennis racquets, tennis accessories and more. Lake Tennis Academy, 4000 Legacy Drive, 214-705-7701,

Dancing Starfish Designs sells handmade leather earrings, customer design earrings, spirit wear earrings and more.

Tumbleweed Texstyles sells Texas-based items, including clothing, hats, drinkware and more. The website has a “soon-to-retire” section with various sale items, ranging from $14 to $20. 7511 Main St., Suite A120,

Spirit Sprinkles is an online woman’s spirit wear store. The store is currently offering 12 Days of Christmas deals with a different deal each day and free shipping on purchases of $49 or more.

Cookie Society of Frisco is owned by Jeff and Marissa Allen.

Food and drink

Cookie Society’s holiday gift crate was featured on Oprah’s list of favorite things in 2020. The crate comes with a dozen cookies for $55. 9320 Dallas Parkway, Suite 160, 214-618-0651,

Huckle Bee Farms of Celina offers raw unfiltered honey infused with various fruits and vegetables. 724-747-7855,

Poparella’s Gourmet Popcorn & Treats sells more than 60 flavors of popcorn, candies, fudge and candied nuts. A regular three-cup bag of popcorn ranges from $3.09 to $8.59, depending on the flavor. The large Holiday Wood Panel Wagon can contain up to three flavors of popcorn for $12.69. 8873 Coleman Blvd., 214-705-9666,

Game Day Style founder Brittany Cobb models a jacket for a photo at her shop across from The Star in Frisco.

Home goods

Heart’s Desire is a widely stocked gift shop with clothing and jewelry, Yeti cups, stationery, home décor, soaps, candles, seasonal decorations and more. 4760 Preston Road, Suite 200, 972-335-1800,

The Sample House and Candle House has thousands of scented candles, home décor items, pet accessories and more. 3231 Preston Road, Suite 6, 972-668-6208,

Storied Roots sells furniture, statuary and home décor made of natural rattan, wood and stone. 7227 Main St., 400, 972-266-2479,

The newest Tiff's Treats is located at 1070 South Preston Road in Prosper.

The Community Grill is a casual dining restaurant with various dishes. 2525 Main St., Suite 400, 214-494-4548.

Didi’s Downtown serves a range of food, including the grilled Atlantic salmon salad and chicken noodle soup. 7210 Main St., 469-888-4020.

Eight11 is a locally owned wine bar with a food menu of shareables, soups and salads, artisan pizzas and more. 7080 Main St., 469-888-4037.

J. Theodore Restaurant and Bar is the former Bonnie Ruth’s. It serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch dishes — and has dozens of martinis on its bar menu. Next door is a secret speakeasy, owned by the same couple. 6959 Lebanon Road, Suite 110, 214-705-7775.

At Luminova Holidays, a new festival at Globe Life Field in Arlington, visitors can skate on a 10,000-square-foot outdoor ice rink.


KidZania is an indoor city for kids with real-life experiences. Tickets are free

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Fakespot on Mission to Protect Consumers During Historic Online Shopping Season on Cheddar

This year’s Cyber Monday was historic. With holiday shoppers spending close to $11 billion, the U.S. set a record for its largest internet shopping day ever, according to Adobe Analytics data. But how do these shoppers know what they’re purchasing is the real deal? Enter Fakespot, a platform that just raised $4 million dollars to help consumers protect themselves from e-commerce scams in real-time on leading online marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify sites.  

“There’s not many people in the corner that are protecting consumers from e-commerce scams. They’re everywhere,” said Saoud Khalifah, co-founder and CEO of Fakespot. “We’re really excited to protect the consumers from these scams.”

The startup’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to the Internet, starting with e-commerce. Fakespot is doing this by utilizing proprietary AI and machine learning to analyze critical data points including reviews, third-party sellers, and reputation data. Khalifah adds, “We’ve amassed over eight billion reviews. Just to give you a comparison, Tripadvisor has over 800 million reviews. So we utilize this huge dataset for our supervised training, for our artificial intelligence, and it makes us better and [puts] us 10 steps ahead of all the fraudsters.” 

Consumers can install Fakespot through a Google Chrome extension. Then, in real-time, online shoppers will be notified whether the reviews they are reading are real or fake. “If you’re browsing, we will, in real-time, show grades from an A to an F, meaning you can trust the reviews that you’re reading, or you can move to the next product if the grade is an F,” according to Khalifah. “We also detect fake sellers and counterfeits, and many other issues that are now plaguing e-commerce.”

One e-commerce giant that Fakespot is ready to deploy its newest technology on is Shopify. “We will be detecting fake stores, hack stores, [and] stores that will siphon off your private information, which is a [bigger] problem than most people know … we’re looking to encapsulate the whole e-commerce market with our protective services,” he said.

As online shopping continues to become more and more popular with shoppers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Fakespot is taking pride in its new and innovative platform. “We’re one of the first pioneers in this space for consumer technology and the protection of people on fraud. There’s not many companies in this space,” Khalifah says. “This industry’s very nascent and we have a lot of potential here. And the market is just growing.”

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How to gift stock market wealth to loved ones during the holiday season

This holiday season give the gift that can keep on creating wealth: stocks. Along with appreciating value, the gift of a stock will also serve as a valuable learning experience for any investor.

a group of teddy bears hanging from the ceiling

© Provided by CNBC

But you can’t order a stock off Amazon, nor will Santa be sliding down the chimney with blue-chip stock certificates. If you want to gift stock to loved one, there are several options, as well as a few important points to keep in mind.


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Among the most convenient ways to gift a stock, according to James Royal, author of The Zen of Thrift Conversions and a Bankrate analyst, is via a gift card. “Stockpile allows you to buy a gift card for a stock and then the recipient redeems the gift card for ownership.”

With a Stockpile gift card or e-gift card you can give between $1 and $2,000 to buy shares, or fractional shares, of a stock. Your recipient can then redeem the gift card and create an account with Stockpile.

Stockpile also offers custodial accounts, which allows guardians to monitor minors’ investments.

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You can also give stock via brokerage accounts. Royal recommends using brokerage accounts for anyone that wants to set up recurring fund transfers.

If the recipient has the same brokerage firm as the sender, the process is as simple as transferring shares electronically. However, if the recipient is outside of the sender’s brokerage firm, Royal says it will take more time to get the gift set up. “You’ll need information like their Social Security number, account number, and name. Obviously, this is all very sensitive information and needs to be handled with care. You can’t surprise someone with this sort of gift,” he said.

It should be noted that the recipients will pay a capital gains tax when they sell their gifted stock. The severity of the tax will depend on how long the individual holds onto the stock. If they sell within a year of receiving the stock, they will be subject to short-term capital gains, which are higher than long-term capital gains — investments held for over one year.

For anyone wishing to give over $15,000, you will incur a gift tax. If you are looking to transfer a substantial amount, you might want to consider a trust. A trust will allow you to postpone the recipient’s access and ensure that the money will be used for its intended purpose.

If you wish to give investment wealth to a child, Royal suggests a 529 savings plan. “With a 529 anyone can contribute. They’ll be investing in that child’s education.”

529 plans allow parents to save after-tax dollars for education expenses. The savings grow tax-free as long as they are ultimately used for qualified education expenses.

Savings bonds are another

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The Coolest Camping Gear To Gift This Holiday Season

From the coolest smartwatch for tracking your winter adventures and the most luxurious down sleeping bag to cozy up in at night to the best portable camp grills and fire pits, fire-resistant blankets, and light setups to take your campsite from zero to hero, these are the best – and coolest – pieces of camping gear to gift this holiday season.


Primus Kuchoma Portable Gas Camp Grill

Portable and gas-powered, this 10 lbs. grill is easy to carry, easy to clean, and even easier to keep stored in the trunk of your car for your next camping adventure. The removable ceramic non-stick grill grate and stainless steel drip tray are both dishwasher safe for easy cleaning after your trip – something you’ll appreciate after having earned the title of Grill Master at camp.

Price: $189.95

Patagonia Provisions Pantry Stocker Box

Shelf-stable and preservative-free, keep these goodies in your pack, in your car, in your pantry, or your emergency disaster kit, so they’re there when you need them the most. If you can resist eating everything in this box until then, that is. From Wild Sockeye Salmon to Organic Lemon Herb Mussels, Organic Mushroom Gravy Grains, fruit and almond bars, to Regenerative Organic Chile Mango and a packet of Aji Molido (Ground Chile), this pantry stocker box is perfect for the chef who likes to experiment around the campfire kitchen.

Price: $99

Sawyer Portable Tap Filtration System

Clean water when you need it the most – and since that’s usually when you’re at a campground, festival, outdoor event, in an RV, or traveling internationally, Sawyer’s Tap Filter is one of those one-size-fits-all solutions you’ll quickly realize you don’t want to live without. Lightweight and easy to connect to just about any spigot or hose thanks to the different attachments that come with the filter, it’s one of the quickest and most reliable ways to get clean water – and a lot of it – fast. And, most importantly, with a 0.1-micron certified filtration system, you don’t have to worry. You’re protected against bacteria such as salmonella or leptospirosis, protozoa, and cysts like E. coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerae, and Salmonella typhi.

Price: $39.99

Tincup Rye Whiskey

There’s no better way to make friends than over a bottle. And it just so happens this bottle is some of America’s finest rye. Bold and smooth, it tastes of the American west while still saluting American whiskey tradition. If that’s not a reason to raise a cup and share a toast, we don’t know what is. 

Price: $29.99


Solo Stove Smokeless Portable Bonfire Pit

 At 20 lbs., this portable fire pit gives you the best of everything – that nostalgia of putting another log on the fire, but without the need to dodge

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A homemade coffee liqueur to make and gift this season

This year, a homemade holiday gift might be even more welcome than usual, and you may have a bit more time to make it a reality. Look no further. We’ve got a special boozy drink you can make yourself, package up, and gift to a coffee lover in your life.

Bob Fish, CEO of Biggby Coffee, showed us how to make a delicious coffee liqueur from scratch. He’s planning on giving bottles of this potent elixir to family and friends this year, personally packaged up with a bag of fresh coffee.

Fish spent a lot of time developing this recipe, getting all the ingredients just right, in order to have it properly duplicate – and possibly better – the popular liqueur Kahlúa. You can also find something similar, and a bit cheaper, at the store called Kamora. Fish made batch after batch of this, figuring out not just the right ingredients, but also the timing and ratios to create the perfect batch of booze.

He started with the best Biggby coffee for the job. While the Biggby Best blend made a very tasty batch, Fish found that the Living Hope blend was even better. The coffee is “roasted a little bit darker than the Biggby Best,” Fish explained. “While the Biggby Best is a little floral, and a little citrusy, and that’s not bad. But the Living Hope is a little more earthy in its application, more berry-like. And when all these ingredients get married together, this one just does a little bit of a better job.”

In addition to working perfectly in this recipe, the Living Hope coffee is purchased by Biggby directly from the farmers who grow it in Zambia. The farm grows the coffee to support their mission to provide shelter, food, education and hope to orphaned children in Zambia. Since Biggby has started supporting their efforts, the organization has added 70 new beds to their orphanage.

The recipe calls for two different parts, which then get married together to create the final product. There is a coffee simple syrup, and an infused rum to make, both simple to do, but time is needed in order to achieve the full flavor this liqueur deserves. Fish recommends using classic canning jars with lids to hold the two liquids while they age, and then transferring the final product into a decorative bottle for gifting.

Start off by making the infused rum by adding a rather incredible variety of ingredients to steep and stew over the course of a few days. All of the ingredients for the rum are “very complimentary to coffee,” Fish explained. Then, make the coffee simple syrup, which Fish has down to a science. His technique of wetting the coffee grounds first, and then adding them to the simple syrup to infuse ensures that the coffee doesn’t suffer from over extraction, which can create an unwelcome bitterness. Be sure to filter the coffee syrup twice, with the second time sending it through something like cheesecloth or

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Gorham’s Holmes starts college season in perfect fashion

Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes made all 13 of her shot attempts in a season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky last week for a career-high 26 points. Holmes also had eight rebounds, seven blocked shots and two steals in just 21 minutes. Missy Minear photo/Indiana University athletics

As a freshman last year at Indiana University, Mackenzie Holmes set a school record by hitting 63.4 percent of her shots for the women’s basketball team.

She apparently wants to break that record again.

Mackenzie Holmes

Holmes, the former Gorham High star, made all 13 of her shot attempts in Indiana’s season-opening 100-51 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 25. The 6-foot-3 forward finished with a career-high 26 points in her third career start. She also had eight rebounds, seven blocked shots and two steals.

It was a command performance that may just be a preview of what’s to come.

Holmes spent the offseason working on her skills and remaking her body – she’s lost about 20 pounds since the start of her freshman year – to the point where she can now take a larger role for the 13th-ranked Hoosiers.

Indiana Coach Teri Moren is certainly high on Holmes, especially her work ethic.

“Mac has always been about the extra and that’s one of the things that we appreciate about her,” she said. “She’s going to continue to get better and you’re going to see her game grow into being one of the best, if not the best, low block post players in the Big Ten.”

Holmes takes such accolades in stride. She’s just happy to be playing, especially during a coronavirus pandemic that has made everything more challenging.

“We know every day together as team, especially in these times, is a great day” she said in a Zoom conference with reporters on Wednesday. “When we played last Wednesday, we all had a lot of fun being on the court together.”

Holmes has always had talent – she was the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Gorham and last year was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team after averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds – and a strong work ethic. And while at home in Maine during the spring, she decided to change her body.

“I feel like I had so much time in quarantine to think about everything and reflect over the past year and I decided it was something I needed to do for myself,” she said. “It wasn’t something that was super difficult … I watched what I was eating, put the right things in my body, and was working out. I gradually just lost weight.”

When she returned to Bloomington, Indiana, to resume classes and practices, Holmes contacted the team’s strength coach (Kevin Konopasek) and nutritionist (Isaac Hicks) and set up a plan to continue becoming more fit. Konapasek gave her exercises designed to help her basketball skills; Hicks set up a meal plan.

Holmes no longer eats processed foods and limits her intake of pasta

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Gift local gift cards this holiday season

The pandemic has taught us a lot of things, including the importance of supporting local businesses, many of which continue to struggle.

Shopping small and local isn’t just a perfunctory pledge.  If we don’t give a boost to these area institutions, they may not be around much longer.

Purchasing gift cards to area shops, boutiques, restaurants and service providers is a simple way to support area businesses while simultaneously clearing names off your Christmas list, and it’s a win-win. Your purchase will keep money in our community and you’ll be bestowing the most coveted of all Christmas gifts. Once again, gift cards are the most-requested holiday gift, according to the National Retail Federation.

Buying a gift certificate for a small business isn’t as simple as snapping up a gift card from a grocery store end cap, but many can be purchased online, flexible options are available and you can get really creative.

A Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association gift certificate, available in $10, $25 and $50 increments, can be used at more than 120 participating businesses in Saratoga Springs. They can be purchased at any Adirondack Trust Company branch.

The Schenectady Greenmarket and the Saratoga Farmers Market offer gift certificates onsite and online. Some farms, including Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont and King Brothers Dairy in Schuylerville, also sell gift cards that can be applied to farm store orders. Bundle the certificate with a jar of jam, pie, slab of grass-fed beef or artisan cheese for a heartfelt, sensible offering.

Some of the Capital Region’s most treasured institutions still haven’t opened or are operating at significantly reduced capacity, including Proctors, Albany’s Palace Theatre, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Landmark Spectrum 8 Theatres and arts and culture venues. Most sell gift cards or membership packages. Purchasing one now could help sustain them while their doors are closed. Combine a gift card with a framed playbill, concert poster or popcorn bucket for some added pizzazz.

Buying for a bibliophile? Slide a gift card for one of the few remaining independently run bookstores, like Northshire Bookstore or The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, into a copy of a current best-seller, or better yet, a local title.

The Capital Region is bubbling over with breweries, wineries and distilleries. If you have an adult beverage-lover on our list, pair a Druthers Brewing Company, Albany Distilling Company or Saratoga Winery gift card with a bottle of wine, spirits or six-pack, slap on a bow and you’re set.

If you’re grappling with the compulsion to grab a great deal while supporting small businesses, consider these gift card offers that include bonuses.

Black and Blue Steak and Crab, Albany: Receive a $20 bonus card for every $100 gift card purchase.

Complexions Spa for Beauty & Wellness, Colonie and Saratoga Springs: Purchase a $150 gift card and receive an additional $20 in spa dollars;  receive an additional $20 in spa dollars and a Complexions Spa Set when you purchase a $225 gift cards.

DZ Restaurants: For a limited time,

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How to avoid online scams this holiday shopping season

There are 23 days left until Christmas and while Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, that doesn’t mean online shopping is over. 

a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a keyboard: Working from home can complicate work and home. Here are tips for organizing workflows and personal spaces.

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Working from home can complicate work and home. Here are tips for organizing workflows and personal spaces.

Both the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission are telling consumers to be wary with online shopping this holiday season. 

“Ads for great online deals are everywhere, tempting consumers with great prices and free shipping offers,” the Better Business Bureau said. “Sometimes consumers find what they ordered is not what they get. Many ads pop up with enticing gadgets, cute merchandise or items with a subliminal ‘I gotta have it’ messages, making it irresistible to click and check it out.”

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The Better Business Bureau said that some deals really are too good to be true and to think before you click.

“Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional hype,” the Better Business Bureau said.

The Federal Trade Commission said to be sure to have updated antivirus software before browsing for the perfect gift. 

Tips on avoiding scams

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission said to follow these tips:

  • To get the best deal, compare products. Do research online, check product comparison sites, and read online reviews.
  • Check out the seller and confirm that the seller is legit. 
  • Look for coupon codes. Search the store’s name with terms like “coupons,” “discounts” or “free shipping.”
  • Pay by credit card. Paying by credit card gives you added protection. Never mail cash or wire money to online sellers. If the seller asks you to pay this way, it could be a scam.
  • Use secure checkout. Before you enter your credit card information online, check that the website address starts with “https.” The “s” stands for secure. If you don’t see the “s,” don’t enter your information.
  • Keep records of online transactions until you get the goods, confirm you got what you ordered, and that you’re satisfied you won’t have to return the item.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: How to avoid online scams this holiday shopping season

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