ST. GEORGE — Cyber Monday has become one of the top shopping days of the year. But like so much else in 2023, not all deals will be just on Cyber Monday, which is Nov. 27.

For illustrative purposes only, the Better Business Bureau recommends consumers use their credit cards to make purchases from reputable companies on Cyber Monday | Photo courtesy of the Better Business Bureau, St. George News

According to the Better Business Bureau, retail experts predict that many online shopping activities and special holiday sales started as early as Halloween and may continue throughout the holiday season.

But online shopping – even on Cyber Monday – has risks. The bureau reminds shoppers to be wary of misleading advertisements, lookalike websites and untrustworthy sellers.

The following tips are designed to help consumers shop online this holiday season to achieve maximum savings while keeping personal information and hard-earned money secure:

Beware of false advertising and phony websites. If a company sells the hottest item of the year at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for false advertising and closely monitor the web address in your browser. Scammers love to create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. Ensure websites use the correct business name spelling and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers.

Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be wary of businesses you aren’t familiar with. Check their BBB Business Profile on, review the rating and read customer reviews. In addition, be sure any web page you purchase from is secure. Secure web addresses begin with “HTTPS, ” not just “HTTP.” Never put personal or credit card information in forms on non-secure web pages.

Keep your antivirus software up to date.  Ensure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device and that it is current. This will help you avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams and help keep your personal information safe.

Price check before you buy. Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but their offers can be misleading. Do your homework by comparing prices. Remember that the best deal may not be the real deal.

Take advantage of rewards and loyalty programs. Check your credit card rewards program for special point offers that could add up on Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays. Make purchases using loyalty programs; many major retailers offer them.

Use your credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges appear later, you can contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection. Never purchase with online sellers by giving them prepaid debit cards or wiring money.

Stock image | Photo by Poike/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Understand return policies. Online store policies may change for Cyber Monday offers. Read the fine print before you buy. Understand the return or exchange policy for the item you want to purchase. Be aware that stores may not allow returns for “final sale” or “closeout” items. Ensure to get gift receipts, so the recipient can return or exchange the item if necessary.

Watch out for phishing scams. Busy schedules and increased purchases make it easier to miss – and fall victim to – a phishing scam. Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, calls or letters. These messages may claim you have a gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. Avoid phishing scams by ignoring suspicious correspondence and calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.

Look for the BBB Seal. It’s the Sign of a Better Business. Shop with confidence and peace of mind, avoid scams, and make smart purchase decisions on Cyber Monday and this holiday season by choosing businesses that prioritize trust and ethics in the marketplace.

For more information, visit BBB’s tips on online shopping. If you’ve spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker.