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Let the shopping and giving begin. But be careful!

From The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:

The unofficial start to the Holiday season kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Your BBB serving Central Virginia is on the front lines with these tips on how to make the holiday season merry and worry-free.

Black Friday– While many shoppers take advantage of holiday sales in stores, there is a shift in the way shoppers are researching and buying, as well as in the way stores are advertising.
TIPS:
· Gift Receipts. ALWAYS ask for a gift receipt.
· Warranty Information. Inquire about the store’s return policy and warranty information before purchasing.
· Research. Read product reviews, check BBB.org Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, and look for early promotions and “flash sales.”

Small Business Saturday– Was launched nearly a decade ago to encourage consumers to prioritize small and local businesses during the holiday shopping season. Many local businesses join in the spirit by using the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday.
TIPS:
· Stay local. Check the Small Business Saturday website (www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small) for a list of shops in your area.
· Friends and family. Share the experience with friends and family by visiting local events throughout your community.

Cyber Monday– Shoppers often participate because of the 24-hour convenience offered by online retailers, delivery specials, and avoiding the store crowds. These tips will help make your online shopping experience a safe and successful one.
TIPS:
· Parental Control. Install software on your kids’ and teens’ computers and mobile devices to limit the websites they can access.
· Hackers like kids’ IDs. Since kids and teens have not established a credit history or have no blemishes on their credit report, hackers are always on the lookout for their information. Hackers can obtain credit cards, loans and more in your child’s name. Remind your family about the importance of NOT giving out personal information in soliciting emails or on social media.
· Email phishing. Teach your teens and young adults about how to catch phishing emails.
· Looking out for scams: If it seems too good to be true…DO NOT CLICK! People tend to shop on what peers and celebrities are wearing or using. Scammers will try to lure them to click on links such as “Free Concert,” “Free Games,” “Free Kylie products,” and more.
· HTTP AND HTTPS. Before sending any personal or sensitive information over the internet, make sure the website has https:// at the beginning of its web address. The “S” at the end of the HTTPS indicates that the website is secure and your information is encrypted, which makes it safe to enter credit card number and personal information.

Giving Tuesday- Wise giving tips for holiday donations.
TIPS:
· The conversation counts. Talking to a child about giving makes them significantly more likely to give, so have a conversation this holiday season.
· Show and tell. Show your child an act of charity; then, help them understand why you did it.
· Start young. Cultivating the habit of giving in childhood could have a life-long impact on children, young adults, and more importantly, those in need.
· Be a guide, not a boss. Let your child discover the causes they care about, and nurture their passion.
· We can all give. You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference. Offer your time or skills, and your child can see there’s more to giving than just the money. For More Information: Visit https://bbb.org/council/holiday-helper/bbb-holiday-helper/

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