Black Friday is here with many stores running sales throughout the month of November, while others will look to have specials planned for Friday, 24 November.
Bargain hunters favour online shopping, but consumers should exercise caution in managing their money smartly and in protecting themselves against online criminals who are gearing up to do some shopping of their own.
The amount of fly-by-night online stores that pop up and disappear with consumers’ money is astounding. Trying to get a good deal could end up costing you thousands.
Consider the following tips to make sure that an online store is legitimate:
- Screen the URL. Fake website addresses are usually off by a character or two, so make sure it’s the exact URL.
- Click on the padlock, in the address box. The drop-down menu will show you the security information of the website. Some fake sites have been able to replicate the padlock icon, so don’t stop here.
- Use a website checker like Google Transparency Report to check the legitimacy of websites.
- Trust your browser. Having antivirus software and an updated browser allows for it to warn you when you’ve entered an unsafe site and blocks you from going any further.
- Look for a trust stamp to assure you that the site you are trying to buy from will protect your transaction. Scammers always find a way to cheat the system even with trust stamps, so always go the extra mile to ensure it’s a safe site.
- Read the reviews about other customer experiences to inform your final decision. Google the name of the online store to see what people are saying.
- Don’t get taken in by the hype and don’t fall into the trap of believing that Black Friday itself is the only time to find a good deal. Do your research and compare where necessary to make sure you really are getting the best price.
- Set up online accounts in advance. Go to the sites of retailers you are likely to buy from and set up your online account in advance. This will include filling in your details, setting up your preferred delivery address and receiving a log-in and password.
- Plan what you can afford to avoid being tempted into spending more than you have.
- Focus on what you need first. Create a list of things that you need to get or replace soon and prioritise those.
- Once you’ve added all the items you were looking for to your cart, hold off on checking those items out. Wait a day or two if you can, there might be a random sale or discount around the corner.
- Look for the item on other online stores that offer similar products and compare prices before committing. You may just find another bargain.
- Leave items in your favourites list or cart for a full 24 hours before going through with the purchase. This will give you time to rationalise the purchase and work out whether it makes sense to go ahead with it.
- Use those loyalty rewards discounts or cashback offers due to you.
Source: Budget Insurance 2021