Scam alert: Online shopping

Buyers warned during holiday shopping

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As bargain shoppers look for deals and discounts online, experts are warning that scammers and counterfeiters will also be on the hunt.

They may be trying to take your money, or your personal information.

According to the brand protection firm MarkMonitor, one in five online bargain hunters shopped at an e-commerce sit that was actually selling counterfeit good. When you're looking at a site, you should see a working customer service number, and legitimate sites should have their return policies clearly spelled out.

Some other red flags will help protect you while you shop online, and protect you against all kinds of scams. For example, beware of sites that offer great coupons, but want you to give personal information before you can get the coupon. Remember your personal information is a precious commodity to scam artists. They'll use it to establish fake identities. You should not be required to share personal information, just to get a coupon.

Also, beware of emails that ask you to click on a special link to get a deal. If you click on the wrong link, you could unleash a virus in your computer. If the email claims to offer you a deal from a well-known company, you might want to get out of the email and check with the store through a legitimate number to make sure such an offer exists.

That's another step that can always give you some protection. Check with actual store, bank, or any organization that's allegedly making you the offer. Check with a source you know is legitimate before you do anything. Don't be pressured into sharing personal information or sending money to anyone,
until you do some homework!

Finally, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! As you shop online, you should have a realistic idea of how much things should cost. If someone is offering you a suspicious price, be suspicious!! Proceed with caution!

Enjoy your holiday shopping, but make smart choices when you point and click!

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