BBB Offers Tips to Avoid Identity Theft while Holiday Shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

With the arrival of the holiday season, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is offering a 2016 BBB Holiday Helper so consumers may avoid identity theft during Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving known as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, and Cyber Monday, the following Monday that is one of the busiest days for online shopping.

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, American consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 during the 2016 holiday shopping season. The BBB Holiday Stats page reports that 151 million shoppers participated in the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. The follow tips can help shoppers avoid identity theft of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Black Friday:

In the past, consumers would make their way to brick-and-mortar locations on Black Friday. However, there is a shift going on in the way shoppers are researching and buying – as well as in the way stores are advertising – Black Friday. Here are some tips to avoid identity theft:

  • Public Wi-Fi: Consumers may look-up reviews or compare prices using public Wi-Fi during Black Friday but should avoid logging on to any of banking sites or other sites with sensitive personal information. Public Wi-Fi is often vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Email Subscription: Since many stores communicate Black Friday deals to people who have signed up to receive their emails, subscribers should never send cash or credit card information directly in response to an email since it could be a phishing scam.
  • Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails consumers receive during the holidays, consumers should not click on any links in emails from unrecognized senders but hover their mouse over links without clicking to see addresses check the reply email address.

For more Black Friday tips, please visit www.bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/black-friday/.

Cyber Monday:

In 2015, online shoppers spent nearly $3 billion during Cyber Monday and visited more than 4,500 retail websites. It was the largest online shopping day ever recorded. Below are some tips to help make online shopping a safe and successful one for consumers:

  • Mobile Security: Shoppers should use secure mobile devices to research and make purchases and use the most recently updated version of apps and operating systems on the phone and actively manage location services, Bluetooth, microphone, and camera.
  • HTTP and HTTPS: Before sending sensitive information such as a credit card while shopping online, consumers should make sure a website has “https://” at the beginning of its web address since the “s” indicates that the website is secure because it is encrypted.
  • Looking out for Scams: Consumers who have encountered a scam during the holiday shopping season or want to report a possible scam should check out the BBB’s Scam Tracker page to learn how to protect themselves from scams.

For more Cyber Monday tips, please visit www.bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/cyber-monday.

In 2015, people turned to the BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free a. The 2016 BBB Holiday Helper is available at www.bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/.

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday. ESR offices will be closed on Thursday, November 24, 2016, and Friday, November 25, 2016, for the Thanksgiving holiday. ESR offices will reopen on Monday, November 28, 2016. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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