This time of year always brings out traditions from years past. You slowly start to change the decorations in the house from fall to holiday, pull those special recipes out of the back of the cookbook, and map out all the stores you plan to visit during Black Friday shopping.
Perhaps in years past, that would have been the plan, anyway. We all know by now that 2020 has been anything but normal. That means a traditional Black Friday is just not going to happen.
When is Black Friday?
Black Friday takes place on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. Unlike other years, though, it is possible some of your regular shopping haunts might not open their doors. That’s why several major retailers are starting their Black Friday deals early. Some are even going on right now.
Is Black Friday still happening?
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Black Friday is going to look a little different this year. Mandates and guidelines resulting from the pandemic have caused many stores to alter their operating procedures. Some have even closed their doors to in-person shopping completely.
So, you’ll want to call ahead and make sure your favorite Black Friday destinations are open. And if they are, assume they’ll have COVID-19 safety protocols in place that limit how many people are in the building at one time. Endless lines and door-buster stampedes are a thing of the past.
Stores are also pushing their Black Friday online sales more than ever. Some retailers even started their sales at the beginning of the month and are running them all month long. Deals aren’t being crammed into just one weekend anymore.
With the buzz of online sales reaching an all-time high, it’s also a time to be aware of online purchase scams. The third riskiest scam type in 2019, online purchase scams made up more than 24% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker last year.
The majority of online purchase scams occur when a payment is made online in exchange for goods and services, but the item ordered is never actually delivered. The most common types of products that go undelivered once payment is made include clothing/jewelry, home/furniture, and medical/nutrition.
Below are just a few tips to help keep you safe while shopping online.
- Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
- Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy, too. Many online orders can be returned for a full refund, but others do have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned at all. Know before you buy.
- Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections. It’s easier to dispute charges you didn’t approve or to get your money back if there is a problem. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
- Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records.
- Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software for network security. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet, and smart phone.
Learn more about how you can shop safer and smarter this season.