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Cyber Monday safety tips to make sure you get what you pay for

Before you click ‘buy’ on that online cart, the BBB has several ways you can keep your identity, money and purchases safe

ST. LOUIS — This Cyber Monday is looking to be another record-breaker.

Adobe Analytics, which measures sales at 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers, expects online sales to reach $9.4 billion. If that happens, it would break last year’s Cyber Monday, which holds the one-day record for online sales at $7.9 billion.

“We know that 56% of us are going to be shopping online [on Cyber Monday], according to the National Retail Federation,” said Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau. But, people need to be careful, he added. “You don’t always get what you think you’re going to get when you’re shopping online.”

RELATED: Merry Clickmas: Black Friday online sales hit record $7.4B

Before you click ‘buy’ on that online cart, the BBB has several ways you can keep your identity, money and purchases safe.

BBB’s 10 tips for safe online shopping:

Protect your computer. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly.

Check a site’s security settings before entering financial data, such as a credit card number. If the site is secure, the URL (web address) on the payment page should start with “https://.”

Shop trustworthy websites. Look for BBB Accredited Business seals on websites and click to confirm that they’re valid. BBB’s dynamic seal will take you to a site’s BBB Business Profile. You also may find reviews at bbb.org.

Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. Don’t enter that information on unsolicited emails. If a site lacks a privacy policy, it could be a red flag that the site could sell your information without your permission.

Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may display free or low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.

Beware of phishing. Legitimate businesses do not send emails claiming problems with an order, account or a package to lure the buyer into revealing financial information. If you receive such an email, BBB recommends that you call the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm a problem.

Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you don’t receive an item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are any unauthorized charges on the card, and many card issuers have zero-liability policies if someone steals and uses your card number. Check your credit card statement regularly for unauthorized charges. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.

Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page of an order or emails confirming the order until you receive the item and are satisfied.

Obtain a tracking number for shipments. If you need the product before the holidays, find out when the seller intends to ship it and, if possible, how it will be shipped. The tracking number can help you find a lost order.

Know your rights. Federal law requires that orders made by phone, mail or online be shipped by the date promised or within 30 days if no delivery time was stated. If goods aren’t shipped on time, shoppers can cancel and demand a refund. Consumers also may reject merchandise if it is defective or was misrepresented.

Check a company’s BBB Business Profile before you make a purchase by going to bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.

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