Black Friday and Cyber Monday Online Shopping Safety Tips – Avoiding Scams and Staying Secure on the Biggest Holiday Shopping Days of the Year

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UsedEverywhere.com, a global leader in Social Commerce and Online Classifieds, is offering up ecommerce security tips to help shoppers get great deals while holiday shopping without becoming victims of scams in the process. False listings, identity theft, phishing, fraud and theft are on the rise, but taking common sense precautions can eliminate much of the risk.

Only proceed with a transaction if you are 100 percent comfortable. As a rule your instincts are your best protection.

With over one billion dollars in online sales last year Cyber Monday surpassed Black Friday as the highest volume day for holiday shopping, re-confirming that buying gifts online has gone mainstream. One third of North American shoppers say they plan to do part of their holiday shopping on the Internet this year. With this in mind UsedEverywhere.com is offering steps that consumers can take to protect themselves.

1.    Trust Your Instincts: First and foremost, the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” definitely applies to ecommerce. Your instincts are often the best indicator if something is amiss. Follow your gut feeling and use common sense.

2.    Report Abuse and Suspicious Looking Postings: If you feel that an ad or a posting looks suspicious report it. Many sites, especially online classifieds and ecommerce sites have ‘report abuse’ or ‘feedback’ links, use those to alert authorities. Also contact local better business bureaus and police if you feel local action can be taken.

3.    Research The Item: Do this beforehand so you know what you are buying, how much it should cost, and what shape it should be in.

4.    Find Promo Codes Before Buying: Do a Google search for the name of the product you are buying and add the words ‘coupon code’ or ‘promo code’ to the search to find any discounts that may be available for that product before you make a purchase.

5.    Never Give Out Personal Information: (When using online classifieds) Don't give your personal information such as your social security (social insurance – in Canada) number, date of birth, banking information, your address and so on.

6.    Talk on the Phone: While email may be the most convenient, especially for initiating transactions, when possible try to speak over the phone before agreeing to a transaction or agreeing to meet if it is a local online classified transaction. If they refuse, excuses are often very revealing. Again, go with your gut.

7.    Deal Only in Cash: For online classified purchases; never wire money, send advance payments, or use your credit card. This also helps you to avoid any deals done through mail – a notorious method for running scams.

8.    Keep it Local: You can reduce your risk by keeping all transactions local. This also eliminates the need to use anything other than cash when buying or selling.

9.    Inspect Before You Buy: Never buy something that you can’t check out in-person first – not only can you assess its quality for yourself, but you can meet the seller in-person.

10.    Meet in Public: For online classified transactions, always meet to exchange in a public place and bring a friend. This protects you by not revealing your address and makes it less likely that someone will try to scam you.

11.    Don’t Go To The Car: Do not accompany a person to their car for any reason, and, of course, do not let them go to the car with items in hand if they haven’t paid for them yet.

12.    Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask sellers why they are selling their item and about its condition. And sellers – don’t be afraid to ask buyers what their intentions are. If something sounds shady, remember you don’t owe anyone anything and you can always back out of a transaction before any money is exchanged.

13.    Keep Records: Especially if you buy and sell often – keep some sort of record of what you have bought and/or sold, where you met, and who you bought from or sold to.

Many of the tips above are focused on conducting safe online classified transactions but many can also apply to all online holiday shopping. The most important tip is: only proceed with a transaction if you are 100 percent comfortable. As a rule your instincts are your best protection.

About UsedEverywhere
UsedEverywhere.com is a social commerce platform. Our focus is to facilitate conversations between buyers and sellers, online and offline. Our easy-use free marketplace combines traditional permissive communication, such as telephone numbers & addresses, with new social media conduits like Facebook & Twitter. UsedEverywhere.com is the largest Canadian owned online classified network with sites in 50 cities across Canada, along with 13 cities in the United Kingdom. Each city site has its own community and online brand.

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Scott Ledingham

Charlotte Cowley
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