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10 tips to avoid being scammed shopping online this holiday season

WATCH: Consumer Matters: avoiding scams during the holiday shopping season

From identity theft to phishing scams, fraudsters are gearing up for the holiday season.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says 90 percent of consumers have engaged with a scam on social media and more than 50 percent of people fell for them.

The BBB says scammers love to create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer.

READ MORE: 4 scams to watch out for while holiday shopping online

It’s the reason why the BBB is urging consumers to think before they click.

“We are seeing online purchase scams, we are seeing fake websites, we are seeing identity theft and credit card theft and credit card details being compromised,” said Karla Davis from the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C.

Here are 10 of the BBB’s top tips to avoid being scammed while online shopping:

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  1. Shop with reputable and trustworthy retailers that provide an actual street address and phone number : If you cannot find a privacy or return policy, contact information, an address or customer service details, avoid shopping on that platform.  If in doubt, contact the retailer directly.
  2. Read customer reviews from several sources: Be wary of businesses you are not familiar with.
  3. Beware of false advertising and phony websites: Watch out for false advertising and keep a close eye on the web address in your browser. Scammers love to create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer.
  4. Understand return/exchange and privacy policies.
  5. Beware of amazing deals that appear too good to be true and items which are considerably lower than market price.
  6. Avoid using  public WiFi when making purchases to safeguard your personal information.
  7. Avoid emails and websites containing poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
  8. Use your credit card: Be wary of businesses and individuals that request payment by wire transfer, prepaid debit or gift cards, cash only or through third parties.
  9. Look out for fake shipping notices: Beware of emails stating there is an issue with your order and requests personal or financial information. If in doubt, go to the retailer’s website to track the status of your order.
  10. Keep your antivirus software up to date.

You can find the BBB’s full list of tips here.