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Voice of the consumer: Advice for Cyber Monday shopping

By: Betty Sexton, KKTV
November 30, 2015 Updated: November 30, 2015 at 11:24 am
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photo - In this photo, a consumer looks at Cyber Monday sales on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif. Retailers are rolling out online deals on so-called "Cyber Monday." But now that shoppers are online all the time anyway, the 10-year-old shopping holiday is losing some of its luster. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
In this photo, a consumer looks at Cyber Monday sales on her computer at her home in Palo Alto, Calif. Retailers are rolling out online deals on so-called "Cyber Monday." But now that shoppers are online all the time anyway, the 10-year-old shopping holiday is losing some of its luster. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File) 

If you're leaving the chaos of in-store shopping behind and letting your fingers do all the work, you may help set a record today. Cyber Monday could be the biggest e-shopping event of the year. Before you kick back in your pajamas and fuzzy slippers, make sure you're ready for the task. Your computer and Internet browser security features should have the most current updates. Don't waste time on just any online merchant, only visit the ones you're familiar with who have a good customer service record. Also, take the time to read and understand merchants' shipping and return policies. They're all different.

Keep in mind if you're shopping over your lunch hour in a remote location, know that sharing your personal payment information over a public network puts you at risk. Make sure the connection is a secure one, using a private Wi-Fi connection. Hopefully, you've done your homework and know exactly what products you want to buy. If so, check to see if you can get additional savings by heading to a site like RetailMeNot.com or CouponSherpa.com. They offer coupon codes you can enter at checkout to save you extra bucks. Some stores like Kohl's, Amazon, and Target allow coupon stacking so try to use as many coupon codes as possible. Remember, purchasing through a reputable website like Amazon means if you do encounter problems, the online retailer will be there to help.

The crooks know that thousands of people will be shopping today so be careful. Look for poor grammar or spelling or something that doesn't seem right. Fraudulent websites can pop up while you're surfing online. Crooks will often use a name similar to one you recognize, changing just one letter or adding a number. That's why you have to have an eagle eye, checking the domain name and website URL. Remember, only purchase from sites where you see the padlock and "https." The "s" tells you it's secure. Don't use one without it.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman released a consumer holiday guide. She warns to be suspicious of websites that offer items - especially brand-name electronics - at unbelievably low prices. She says they could be crooks looking to collect your personal information or unethical merchants selling knock-off or counterfeit items or ones that have been damaged, returned, and refurbished.

Coffman says beware of "free" gift cards in ads you see on Facebook or other social media sites. She warns, "You usually have to sign up with participating merchants and that means providing personal and financial information to unscrupulous vendors."

If you keep these things in mind, you should have a stress-free and successful Cyber Monday.

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Contact Betty Sexton at bsexton@kktv.com or 578-0000.

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