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BBB's holiday advice: Shop smart, give wisely

PORTLAND, Ore. -  Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest is encouraging consumers and donors to shop smart and give wisely this holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this holiday season, a 3.4 percent increase from last year’s $935.58.  

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday near, BBB offers these shopping tips and trends for a safe and happy holiday:  

Black Friday

  • Trend: 99 million people went to stores on Black Friday in 2016. 

  • Gift receipts and warranty information tip: Always ask for a gift receipt and the store's return policy. This way the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right. 

Small Business Saturday:  

  • Trend: An estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday last year, marking a 13 percent increase from 2015. 

  • Stay local tip: Check the Small Business Saturday website for a list of shops in the area that are participating. 

Cyber Monday:  

  • Trend: Cyber Monday achieved a new record with $3.45 billion spent online in 2016.  

  • Fake Amazon survey tip: Recently a consumer reported a fake Amazon email making the rounds to BBB Scam Tracker. This email disguises itself as a survey that lures consumers in with a free gift that claims to only have a small shipping fee. Once the item is shipped, consumers are charged for the full price of the item. Consumers are also unaware that they have signed up for monthly shipments of the item and are charged full price each month.  

  • Imposter apps tip: Consumers should examine apps carefully before making a purchase, especially fake apps that mimic real ones. According to a report released by the FTC, fake apps could steal consumer's personal information and install malware to a device.  

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Giving Tuesday:  

  • Trend: Donors research before giving. In 2015, Give.org saw a 162 percent increase in site traffic on #GivingTuesday.  

  • What's in a name tip: Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds similar to a famous charity.  Before giving, donors should be sure to have the exact name of the charity they want to support.  

For more trends and tips for holiday shopping, visit https://www.bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/.  


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