Cyber Monday deals on electronics, toys and more come with some risk from scams

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Monday, November 29, 2021
Cyber Monday deals and how to spot scams
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Cyber Monday deals are expected to net about $11 billion in sales, but shoppers should be on the look out for scams to steal their information.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Consumers are expected to spend about $11 billion on Cyber Monday, and while they hunt for deals they are also vulnerable to scams.

Experts said the supply chain delays have helped to slightly reduce projected sales this year; however Cyber Monday is still expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Before you surf, you need to make sure you're on a legitimate website. Otherwise you can order a gift and never get it, or you could get a knock- off.

"The Better Business Bureau is concerned about fake websites that seem to be ever popular this year. And in 2020, it was our riskiest scam," said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Chicago BBB. "Number one riskiest scam, so be careful in the companies you're dealing with because sometimes they may not be the company that you are trying to deal with. And what I mean by that is sometimes they change one or two characters in the URL, and you get a totally different company."

Look at the URLs closely before you shop to be sure you're on the right site, and go to it directly on your own instead of clicking on a link someone sends to you.

Also, beware of phishing emails offering you a deal that looks too good to be true, or an email claiming you have a free gift card.

"Use the company's apps because also they have loyalty programs and rewards programs. So a lot of times these retailers will have special deals for their current customers and loyal customers," advised Bernas.

After researching, you can also use websites like www.BrickSeek.com which aggregates and tracks deals from other retailers.

"We're always hoping to see good deals on Apple products, because it's basically the only time of year that we see any type of discount that's offered," said Bethany Hollars, director at BrickSkee. "Apple AirPods are $179 at Amazon, so that's a savings of $70, which for Apple is huge. Target has the same Apple AirPods for $189.99."

Her company found laptops with savings of 50%, like the ASUS model Chromebook.

"Normally it retails for $250. So you're saving over half off, you're literally saving more than you're paying. It's an online deal at Walmart $113. Can't beat it," she said.

Hollars said BrickSeek is also finding deals on cell phones, home appliances and more.

"There are some amazing deals being made on toys so you should definitely be looking to save at least 40 to 50%. Designer brand beauty care at Ulta and Sephora for Cyber Monday, I looked at their sites today. Sephora up to 50% off; same at Ulta," she said.

Bernas warns to be careful of refund and exchange policies.

"It's a privilege not a right," he explained. "So as you're looking at these websites, make sure that you agree to the return or exchange policy. Sometimes they have restocking fees."

Consumer experts say Cyber Monday discounts far outweigh what you can get in person even on Black Friday. So if you missed Black Friday, don't worry; there is still time to get online for deals. But remember, do it safely and make sure you're on a legitimate website.