It’s Black Friday and everyone’s looking to score a great deal! But before you start your online shopping (here’s a list of Black Friday deals for travelers), here’s some advice to help you avoid becoming the victim of a Black Friday scam or getting taken advantage of.

1. Shop on reputable sites
Don’t shop on sites you’ve never heard of and if you’re not sure if a site is reputable, search online for reviews. More often than not, other people will have posted if a site doesn’t deliver what it promises.

2. Don’t click on suspicious links
Many scammers are experts at creating emails that look like they come from your favorite retailers. It’s called phishing. Be careful before clicking on links that you’re unsure of, especially if the email comes from an unsolicited source. These emails often have poor grammar or incorrect spelling so look closely—it’s a dead giveaway.

3. Shop on secure sites
Shop on sites that have “https” and a lock symbol in the URL instead of sites that just have “http.” “Https” sites are secure whereas “http” sites are vulnerable to attacks and make it it easier for hackers to steal your credit card information.

4. Create unique logins
When you’re shopping on a site, you have to create a username and password. To be extra careful, use a unique password on each site you shop on.

5. Shop on a merchant’s native site or app
A lot of people are shopping on their phones these days and hackers know it so they create fake websites and apps to try and trick consumers—and it’s easier to pull of on mobile devices because you can’t see the full URL. Don’t fall for it. Type in the URL of the retailer you’re looking for and only download apps from official app stores like Apple or Google. Be wary of any merchant asking for access to your contacts, messages, passwords or credit card information.

6. Take screenshots and keep receipts
Once you’ve made a purchase, take a screenshot of the confirmation screen that shows you’ve completed the transaction. Keep this on file in the event that you run into any problems with your order, to prove that you made and paid for your purchase.

7. If it seems too good to be true…
Beware of deals that just seem impossibly good. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.



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Natalie DiScala

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