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A Trillion Dollar Holiday

I absolutely love the holidays, the warmth of a house full of family, the smells of wonderful food, and beautiful decorations. Christmas time is such a magical time for children and as a mom, I do everything I can to keep that Christmas sparkle in their eye. While the holidays are about so many things, as a mom I spend hours online looking for that perfect gift for my children and family. I am not the only one, according to marketing research firm EMarketer, for the first time ever, holiday spending this season will total over one trillion dollars. That’s trillion with a capital T. Cyber Monday alone makes up 10 billion of that.

Before we jump behind that keyboard to complete that holiday shopping list, we at the Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific want you to consider first, if those quick clicks are putting your financial and personal information at risk. One of the major risks of online shopping is misleading advertisements. When we are looking for that amazing deal its easy to be lured by these fake ads. Too often that leads to counterfeit merchandise, or consumers simply being left empty-handed. Another way these advertisements trap you, is mimicking ads from major retailers but leading to false websites.

These may even come as a pop-up, which can be combatted by keeping your antivirus software up to date. This helps avoid non-secure websites and phishing scams, keeping personal information safe and avoiding ransonware. Even when shopping on our phones which so many of us do; you can download security apps that increase protection and provides antivirus defense on your phone.

According to a recent study from the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $1,048 over the holiday season, not including the cost of travel. So as you are spending your holiday budget BBB recommends making online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, it’s easier to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection, and those that do, often put the burden on the consumer to sort and prove which charges are theirs and which are not.

Also, just in case Grandma doesn’t love that antique bird feeder, there’s some things you need to know ahead of time. Definitely read the return policies so you understand how to return items purchased online and what costs are involved, such as re-stocking fees, shipping and handling costs, etc. Also if you bought an item on a special sale, you may only have a few days to return it.

Following these simple tips will help make your holiday season merry and bright. For more tips from the Better Business Bureau head to bbb.org.

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Written by Jeremy Johnson

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