CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, holiday shopping is in full swing. And in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping is at a high.
But as you fill your online shopping cart, scammers and crooks are coming up with new ways to steal your money.
"Scammers have tools where they learn your buying behaviors and offer you exactly what you’re looking for," a Better Business Bureau spokesperson said.
The BBB said many of the scams rely on fake websites that mimic real stores.
Crooks trick people into visiting those fake sites by emailing or texting too-good-to-be-true coupons and ads, which can be enticing to many who are financially strained this year.
The BBB stresses: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a great deal in your inbox, don’t click the link. Instead, head to the retailer directly to see if it's legit.
QR codes also a big source of scams this year. While scanning QR codes can be an easy way to get to a legitimate website, some could lead to those fake sites, steal your data, or install malware on your device.
Another tip from the BBB: keep a close eye on the web address. Make sure the URL starts with "HTTPS" -- the "S" stands for "secure." In many instances, you'll also see a symbol of a lock next to a URL when it is secure.
The BBB said the riskiest way to pay is with cash, money transfers, or with apps like Venmo and Cash App. Instead, your best bet is to use a credit card.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind next time you head online to shop, and hopefully, you'll be able to score sales, not scams.