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Business organization: beware of scams on 'Cyber Monday'

In 2005, online retailers looking to carve out their piece of the “Black Friday” pie dubbed the Monday following Thanksgiving “Cyber Monday.”

In 2011, onlines sales on Cyber Monday reached $1.25 billion, the “heaviest U.S. online spending day in history,” according to the market research company comScore. That compares to about $11.4 billion in retail purchases on Black Friday in 2011, according to ShopperTrak.

But while holiday shoppers are surfing the web Monday for special deals, the Better Business Bureau is warning Chicagoans to beware of scammers and hackers.

Tom Joyce is vice president of marketing and communications with the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. He said shoppers should be wary of some of the deals they find.

“You’ve got a lot of scams going on out there,” Joyce said. “They’re looking to get enough information on you to steal your identity, to get into your credit information to open up other phony credit cards. There’s a variety of schemes going on.”

Joyce and the Better Business Bureau have a few tips to help shoppers avoid getting scammed.

Joyce said only shop on trusted websites. He said the Better Business Bureau and other watchdog groups have a list of their accredited businesses online. Joyce said use a credit card as opposed to a debit card because credit cards typically have better safeguards against fraudulent spending.

He said do not share personal information like your credit card number without first reviewing the site’s privacy policy and said always keep documentation of the purchases, and he shared an old adage.

“Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Joyce said.

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