Online holiday shopping, safely

N2211 P47007 C
The key to safe online shopping is making sure you’re buying from a reputable business.

By Mary Malik

'Tis the season for holiday shopping—and unfortunately, holiday scamming. Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Greater Cleveland sees an increase in scams, especially online, this time of year. Sue McConnell, President and CEO of BBB of Greater Cleveland, offers tips to keep your holidays merry, bright and free of online scams.

“The key to safe online shopping is making sure you’re buying from a reputable business,” says Sue.

How to Research a Business

  1. Check the company out at
  2. Google the company name, check its website and read reviews.
  3. Search the website address on to see when the site was created. A site registered very recently or in a foreign country has red flags.

Tips for Safe Online Shopping

  1. Keep records of all transactions, emails, confirmations of orders and shipping. Take a screenshot of the item purchased.
  2. Be aware of “in demand” toys, products and pop-up websites that offer too-good-to-be-true pricing. You may never receive the item, or you’ll receive a cheap knock-off instead.
  3. Use a credit card for purchases. If there is a problem, you will have some recourse through the credit card company.
  4. Get gift receipts and read the fine print on return policies and terms and conditions. There may be unreasonable limitations on returns.
  5. Understand the details of warranty coverage.
  6. Beware of “puppy scams”—websites that offer popular dog breeds for shockingly low prices.

“It’s very easy for a con artist to create a website that looks valid,” says Sue. “With the ‘puppy scam’ websites, often there is no dog at all. Scammers use pictures from legitimate websites, take your money and they’re gone before you figure it out. Stay vigilant and if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau is located at 200 Treeworth Boulevard in Broadview Heights. For more information, call 216-241-7678 or visit

Categories: Shops & Boutiques