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Increase in purchase fraud seen ahead of Black Friday, Better Business Bureau says

Here's how you can protect yourself this holiday season.

SAN ANTONIO — It’s a busy time for shopping, and this shopping season is expected to look a lot different than previous years.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday have pretty much turned into Cyber November,” Jason Meza with the Better Business Bureau San Antonio said.

“Stores really don’t want you to go into physical store locations. They’re pushing everyone to shop online,” founder of Early Black Friday, Jon Vincent said.

On average, the Better Business Bureau says people are expected to spend just over $1,000 on gifts this year. When you’re shopping this holiday season, you want to make sure every single dollar spent is secure, Meza said.

“It’s that time of year we could see a lot of fraud pop up,” Meza said.

Meza says they’ve already seen a 21% increase in fraud tracker reports, compared to this time last year.

“Potential is going to be exponential this year because of the fact that we are doing more online shopping this year,” Meza said.

So how do you distinguish between what deals are too good to be true and what may be legit?

“I’ll summarize it in four words: Read the fine print. There’s always a catch or disclaimer somewhere in the messaging and it might be hard to find,” Meza said.

Some other tips Meza suggests to protect yourself this year include:

  • Always do your research before making any online purchases
  • Make sure websites you’re purchasing from are secure
  • Use a credit card to make purchases, if possible
  • Know the return policy and warranty information for anything you buy

“Just stay vigilant. It’s that time of year where you don’t want to fall into a scam. We all want to save money. We all want a great deal. But, at what expense?” Meza said.

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