Keeping yourself safe while shopping online

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Cyber Monday shopping is expected to hit a new record for a sixth year in a row. Shoppers could spend as much as $6.6 billion. That's almost 17 percent more than last year.

Experts said peak time for buying is between 8 p.m.and 11 p.m. That's not long before the deals disappear on Tuesday.

Now the question is; are shoppers doing their online shopping wisely? The Better Business Bureau wants to pass along some safe shopping tips for you this holiday season.

Chances are someone you know participated in a Cyber Monday deal. The BBB said that they have seen a spike in fake websites, meaning you order products, but they never arrive and now have your information.

"You have to deal with legitimate companies," said Dick Eppstein, president of the BBB. "You can check them out easily by just going to or put the name of the company into Google and after the name of the company put the word scam."

The BBB said before you check out you should see if the website address starts with "HTTPS."

If the "s" is there it's a secure site. They also said it's important to look at the entire URL to make sure it's legitimate.

Another warning for you is to look out for weird messages about deals with links on social media.

"A lot of the crooks will hijack the address books of people on Facebook," said Eppstein. "And then you get this message from your friend on Facebook saying this is a great site and it turns out to be fake."

Police said theft this time of year does increase and if you see anything or become a victim yourself you should report it.

"Criminals are opportunistic in nature and this is a good time of year for criminals and for thieves, and so everybody just has to be aware of that," said Lieutenant Kevin Braun with the Toledo Police Department. "It's just like anything else stay hyper vigilant and protect your property. If you know packages are coming to the house take precautions to know that they are safeguarded."

The BBB is also stressing that you stay vigilant when shopping online.

They said you should avoid clicking on links in your email or pop-ups, and use a credit card rather than debit card when making a purchase online.

Police suggest you have your packages shipped to your work, or a family members home where someone can receive it in person (if you cannot). They also said if you can request for a signature with delivery to choose that option or just pick it up in the store if there is a location nearby.

The BBB said several stores will price match the deal you can score online which means you can get the item on time, it won't get damaged in transit and it cannot be taken from your porch.

If you have encountered fake websites or want to double check something with the Better Business Bureau you can go to their website, call their office at 419-531-3116, or email them at

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