How to Shop Smart and Safe this Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching, expect all sorts of sales promotions – freebies and discounts everywhere.  But before you complete any purchase, make sure that you weren’t fooled into buying worthless things.  Follow my 6 tips for shopping smarter this holiday season and protect yourself from falling for bad deals, inauthentic product reviews, counterfeit goods, fake products and worst of all, scams and phishing schemes.

1. Always compare prices.

Don’t just buy the first item you seen in store or online just because it claims that it’s 70% off or that it’s the “lowest price ever.”  Use comparison search engines and price-comparison apps whenever you shop to verify the deal or find a retailer that offers the best deal for a certain item.  Price-comparison apps that you can download for free come handy when you are shopping at the mall because you can just scan the barcode with your mobile’s camera and it will search all the deals and prices from other stores near you.

2. Spot fake reviews.

When you’re on a fence about a certain item and want to read reviews, don’t believe everything you read.  A lot of manufacturers pay people or give items for free in exchange for a biased review.  Do your own evaluation and assessment first before falling for fake reviews.  There’s a site called FakeSpot that analyzes a listing page and gives you a version that has the correct rating with all potential fake reviews already removed.

3. Be wary of deep discounts.

Some deals are just too good to be true.  For example, you’ll see a luxury product being sold at a much, much lower price, there’s a big chance that these products are counterfeit or fake.

4. Shop at reputable retailers and retail websites.

Counterfeit products are present everywhere and not just in small businesses but in bigger ones too.  However, reputable retailers are less likely to sell these types of products.  When doing online shopping, always buy from trusted e-commerce sites to avoid getting scammed.

5. Look for sellers with lots of good feedback.

When shopping at online auction sites, always buy from sellers with lots of good feedback.  Ask for their address, phone number and other important details.  If they refuse, then there’s something fishy about that.

6. Never give out personal information online.

A lot of online thieves are lurking nowadays, looking for their next prey.  Beware of spam emails and never click links or attachments in emails from unknown senders.  Never type in personal information in suspicious sites or even your email and social media accounts because you never know who can hack into your account.

About Toni Marie

Toni is a contributing author. In addition to writing about the Baby Boomer generation, she also likes to write about relationships and health.
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