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Getting the best out of this holiday shopping season

Tips on spending less, staying safe and avoiding scams

How to prevent porch pirates

ROANOKE, Va. – The biggest holiday shopping days are almost here. We’re working for you to make sure you get everything on your list while staying protected.

When it comes to Black Friday, it’s all about preparation. Wednesday is the last day you can head to the places you plan on going to for Black Friday and do a little research. It’s a big tip the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia gives.

That way you can make a list, you don’t get distracted and don’t make those in-the-moment purchases that might get you in trouble after the holidays.

Julie Wheeler, president of BBB Serving Western Virginia said, “Take one credit card with you as you’re walking to the car. Make sure you have your keys out, put your packages in the trunk not where they’re readily seen and don’t get yourself so loaded down that it will be easy for somebody to grab something from you.”

Wheeler also mentions it’s okay to make a trip to your car to unload and then go back in so you don’t become loaded down.

As for Cyber Monday, it may be a way to snag great deals, but it also poses a lot of risks.

The biggest thing to remember is to know the retailer you’re buying from. That means you’ve shopped there before or did your research. Look at reviews, make sure those reviews are real. Click here for our article on how to identify fake and misleading online reviews.

You can even check if the business is on BBB’s website, here.

Wheeler also suggests looking out for pop-up ads. “If you get a pop-up ad that offers you an unbelievable good price and you’re supposed to click on it and go buy it, chances are that’s going to be a fake website. And that’s probably the biggest risks we see during Cyber Monday and even during the shopping season.”

Also, make sure you’re aware of the return policy.

Once you make your online purchases remember to prepare for your package delivery to avoid porch pirates.

Porch pirates steal packages sitting out in front of your house and can take them while you’re not at home.

Wheeler says, “If you have somewhere protected you want to specify that’s where you want it delivered; if it’s the side of the house, neighbors house. If you know you’re not going to be there and make sure you get those packages in a timely fashion.”

Another reminder for the holiday shopping season, don’t forget about local businesses.

Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday and the point is to spend money within the community.

The BBB reminds shoppers to sign up for email alerts, check social media for deals and don’t just shop small, eat small too.

“They really are the backbone of our economy, the small businesses. The money stays in the valley versus when you’re buying online and big-box retailers, a lot of it does leave our area,” says Wheeler.

For additional holiday shopping tips and reminders, click here.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.