Pandemic holiday shopping: Bye-by Black Friday

How to protect yourself form cyber crime when shopping online
How to protect yourself form cyber crime when shopping online

Black Friday has quickly become a national holiday, pushing some sales to start as early as Thanksgiving morning.

In 2019, the number of in-person shoppers on Black Friday fell by 6.2% and 93.2 million people instead made an online Black Friday purchase. These stats are expected to increase even more this year due to the pandemic, but are there also dangers to shopping online?

For the first time in years, more big retailers are keeping their doors closed Thanksgiving Day. Instead, cyber deals are already underway, but beware -- experts say if you want a specific gift, order it online now before they run out.

Try out apps that can help you keep track of sales on hot items. The top apps this season—Shop Savvy helps you find the lowest price locally on gift items. Coupon Cabin is a coupon and cash back app. Members can search for offers from more than 4,000 stores and brands and earn up to 10% cash back on online purchases from more than 1,800 stores. Avoid sticker shock at the register with Discount Calculator, an app that figures the real prices for all of your items, including store discounts and applicable sales taxes.

As we say bye-bye to Black Friday, be aware of Cyber Monday and holiday sale hoaxes. To keep your precious holiday finds safe, only visit official company sites of trusted brands directly. Never open email links or ads.

Keep track of your spending and use a credit card that offers fraud protection. Make your passwords diverse— this way, if one gets stolen, hackers won’t have access to all of your info.

And never shop on a free Wi-Fi connection.