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‘Cyber Monday’ also a holiday for scammers

Cyber Monday deals bring with them the threat of scammers. (PHOTO: KSL file)

SALT LAKE CITY — More than ever, holiday shoppers are skipping the lines on Black Friday in favor of staying home and spending money on Cyber Monday.

Last year, the online shopping holiday generated close to $8 billion in revenue, while Adobe Analytics projects around $9.4 billion in sales this year.

Experts say severe weather across the country and a shorter holiday shopping season are driving the increase in numbers.

While officials with the Utah Division of Consumer Protection say it’s not just holiday shoppers that get excited for the day of online deals.

Director Daniel O’Bannon warns that scammers will be out in full force, which means you need to ask yourself a few questions before clicking “buy.”

“Are you buying from somebody who has any history of successful delivery?” he asks. “Are you buying from someone who is even running a legitimate website or operation?”

It can be easy to get swept up in the price markdowns, but an old adage may prove to be your best friend. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“The lowest price doesn’t always mean the best deal,” says O’Bannon. “It could mean that you’re just never going to see that money again.”

With all the concerns about buying risks, it may not be the best day to pass off credit card information to a teen to make online purchases.

“Younger consumers who are just getting into the online shopping market, using credit cards, may not be as savvy as consumers who have been around for awhile,” he explains.

O’Bannon says hold onto your receipts or purchase confirmation e-mails, because those could become vital down the road. At minimum buyers should have those documents archived for a few weeks, because often times it will take that long to realize you’ve been scammed.

“You don’t want to be spending the days after Christmas dealing with packages that didn’t arrive, charges that you didn’t authorize and the big headache of unwinding the whole mess,” says O’Bannon.

If you never receive a good you purchased or a fraudulent charge is made in your name you can file a report with consumer protection.