BBB offers tips to keep you safe while shopping online

BALTIMORE - Many of us are avoiding the malls and doing our holiday shopping online.  That can also come with its own level of stress if you're not careful!

The internet is a great place to find good deals on gifts for the holidays, but it's also a place where scammers can try to take advantage of you.  The Better Business Bureau says your first step to safe shopping is to use trustworthy sites. 

If you're not using names you can trust, you don't know what you're getting.  In fact - the feds just shut down 150 websites for selling counterfeit goods to customers who didn't know.  Sue McConnell with the BBB says, "It may look very close to the real thing, but the quality won't be there, the warranty won't be there."

And while we're all looking for a good deal, you should be careful with those deals that seem unbelievably good.  McConnell explains, "Just don't believe that you're going to get that item at that incredibly low price because you're probably about to be scammed."

Another scam tip-off while you're shopping is if the seller wants you to pay through money gram or wire transfer.  Once that money's gone, it's gone.  That's why experts say you should use your credit card for online purchases, because if what you bought never arrives, you can dispute the charges.  If you use a check or a debit card you may be out of luck.

Lastly, you should also check out a site's privacy policies before you buy.  You need to make sure the information you share during the holiday season doesn't get shared well into the New Year.

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