WXXI AM News

Staying safe online during Cyber Monday and beyond

Dec 2, 2019

It's expected that this year’s Cyber Monday online sales will top $9.4 billion, which would be a 19 percent increase over last year.

But the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is warning consumers that there are many scams out there, and it's important that people do their homework, according to communications director Melanie McGovern.

McGovern says there have been instances where a phony website used a random phone number of an upstate New York resident as their customer service line

"You want to look up that website, you want to make sure it's secure.  You want to make sure it's a legitimate retailer," she said. "What we find is sometimes through social media advertising, scammers can get in there and take people's money, get their information, so you really want to be vigilant when you're shopping online."

McGovern said red flags include websites that ask customers to wire them money or use a prepaid debit card. She said it's important to shop at a website that accepts credit cards so that customers have fraud protection in case something goes wrong.

McGovern said the old adage -- 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is' -- certainly applies to online shopping.

"If you see that high-ticket item for less than retail, or less than it's selling on other websites, there's a good chance you might not get that item if you give them your information," she said.

Cyber Monday’s spending spree comes on the heels of robust Black Friday sales; much of that business also was done online.