Here’s How To Avoid Scammers During Black Friday In DC

Residents in the D.C. area are already gearing up for the deals and discounts during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Unfortunately, scammers are getting ready, too.

The Better Business Bureau has released a variety of tips to practice safe shopping during the holiday season.

Beware of false advertising and phony websites:

If you stumble on a site offering the hottest item of the year at a price that seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Watch out for false advertisements and websites that offer prices on items way below the market average.

Always make sure websites use the correct spelling of business names and offer contact information, along with customer service numbers.

Shop with trustworthy stores:

A red flag should go up immediately if you find yourself shopping with a business you’ve never heard of. You can check all businesses with the Better Business Bureau’s rating tool.

Related: Get A Head Start On Holiday Shopping With These Early Black Friday Deals

Keep your antivirus software up to date:

Technology is your friend in the fight against scammers. Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, and that it’s up to date.

Use your credit card, not your debit card:

It’s almost always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If a charge appears that seems incorrect, you can contest the purchase through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer the same safety net.

Watch out for phishing scams:

Stay alert for unsolicited emails, texts, calls or letters claiming that you have a free gift waiting or that there is a problem with delivery. The best way to avoid this scammer strategy is to simply steer clear of suspicious email addresses and unfamiliar phone numbers.

Be alert to phony classified ad listings:

If you are conducting a transaction in person, always meet in a public place to make the exchange and test any electronic devices before paying. If a seller has posted an item on a local classified site but says it needs to be shipped, that’s an automatic red flag.

For more advice on avoiding scammers during the holiday season, visit the Better Business Bureau for a more in depth guide.

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