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The new way to holiday shop — online

I love the Christmas season. I truly feel it is the most delightful time of the year. I love the snow, the holiday gatherings, but most of all I love shopping. Who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of finding the perfect present for that person?

This year I ventured out on Thanksgiving night to a large discount department store in Lexington. I am not the typical Black Friday shopper because I don’t feel there is anything that I truly need, but this year my mom wanted me to pick up some video games for my brothers.

I decided I would try Thanksgiving night instead of Black Friday. After this year, I decided that Thanksgiving night is just as crazy as Black Friday.

My good friend and I were holding down the lines in the video game section. I hate to say it but we were both semi-crazy and making sure that nobody got in front of us. If you were wondering we were first in line and only had to stand there for 45 minutes….for video games! I couldn’t believe myself.

Holiday shopping gives me an adrenal rush that I don’t feel throughout the year.  I can’t describe it in any other way. I felt so accomplished when I left the store, but I also realized that night that Cyber Monday is much safer and easier than Black Friday shopping. 

This year it was estimated that 106.9 million Americans did their share in helping with Cyber Monday. Were you one of them? Cyber Monday is not nearly as stressful as Black Friday but it doesn’t quite give me the adrenal rush that I felt Thanksgiving night. Cyber Monday offered hundreds of deals and free shipping.

With only two weeks until Christmas, the malls are going to be more crowded than ever so online shopping is the way to go. Below are a few tips about how to keep you safe from online thieves.

· Shop from a trusted source/Research the seller. Anyone can set-up shop online. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have any problems or questions.

· Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Make sure you have installed the latest firewall and anti-virus software to protect your computer against online attacks.

· Enter financial information only on secure sites. Do not e-mail financial information, like your credit card or checking account number. If you initiate a purchase on-line, look for indicators that the site is secure. Although no indicator is fool-proof, look for a lock icon on the browsers status bar, or a URL address that includes an "s" after http.

· Don't save your credit card or account information to the seller's site.

· Don't send cash or wire money for payment. Do not wire money for items purchased on-line; you may be giving your money to scammers, and you may never get the item you "ordered." Pay by credit card.

· Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of all your on-line transactions, including the product description, price, on-line receipt, and e-mails.

One of the best ways to keep up to date with consumer fraud in Kentucky is to visit the Consumer Protection website. This website provides you with information on local and national scams.  Check out http://www.ag.ky.gov/civil/consumerprotection/.

Remember you have two weeks until Christmas, if you don’t want to tackle the malls online shopping can be amazing. But be smart about where you shop online. Have a wonderful holiday season!

 

Source: Ann House, Extension Assistant Professor and Utah Saves Campaign Coordinator

Sara Talbott, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at Anderson County Extension Office