Tips on shopping smart and safely this Cyber Monday

WASHINGTON — Chances are, when you check your email on Monday morning, it will be jammed with Cyber Monday offers.

If you’re going to take advantage of the online specials, the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Division said be sure to shop smart.

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep a File Folder: Print and save all confirmations of your purchases to help with returning or exchanging items. You can also use your file to verify credit card or bank statements.
  • Look for Coupon Codes: Look for websites dedicated to finding and sharing coupon codes. You may just find a deal—free shipping, free merchandise, a percentage off your order—to sweeten the pot.
  • Shop at Sites that Offer Free Shipping: Many, but not all, stores offer free shipping on Cyber Monday, so spend some time looking for those deals.
  • Ship Gifts Directly to the Recipient: Most online retailers can ship items to a different location than your billing address. During the holiday season, when many people are traveling, take advantage of this feature by sending gifts ahead of your arrival. Some companies can even ship pieces from a single order to multiple locations so you don’t have to lug holiday gifts across the country.
  • Safeguard Your Online Information: Use reputable websites and stores. Only visit secure sites. They should show “HTTPS:” (the ‘s’ means secure) in your browser bar.
  • Gift Cards: Only buy from reputable retailers, not through online auction sites. Gift cards sold through online auction sites may be counterfeit or have been obtained illegally.

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