(KVOA) – With Christmas around the corner, some people have gotten their holiday shopping out of the way while others may be turning to last-minute online gifts.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has offered parents tips for getting their online holiday shopping done safely and efficiently.
- Guard your privacy. Proceed with caution when shopping for the season’s hottest toys. “Stores choose toys they think will sell out quickly, but they don’t always take a toy’s safety or data collection practices into consideration,” the BBB said in a news release. “Make sure toys are safe and have good privacy policies before you buy.”
- Purchase apps and connected toys from companies who are a member of a Federal Trade Commission approved Safe Harbor. “Make sure that none of your child’s personal information will be collected without your explicit consent by choosing apps and toys from companies that display seals on their website and toys from Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) or another Safe Harbor,” the BBB said.
- Examine toy descriptions carefully. “Pay close attention to age recommendations, potential choking hazards, exactly what comes with the toy, and what accessories you may need to purchase separately,” the BBB said.
- Read multiple reviews before you buy. Pay attention to both positive and negative reviews. “Review videos can help you get a better idea of what a toy is like and how it works too,” the BBB said. “Keep in mind though, that many reviewers, bloggers, influencers, etc. share opinions that should be taken with a grain of salt as these individuals may be getting paid to post their review.”
- Keep in mind age recommendations. “When shopping online, age recommendations may not be readily apparent, so do plenty of research before you make a purchase,” the BBB said.
- Watch out for in-app advertisements. Many toys come with connected apps. “These, along with gaming apps for kids, likely feature in-app advertisements. Some in-app ads may be inappropriate for children,” the BBB said. “CARU offers some excellent suggestions on how to educate your children about in-app advertising and what to watch out for as a parent.”
- Double-check small business web security. Some businesses may not have the resources or technical know-how to set up secure online purchasing. “If a website seems less than secure, call and ask about curbside purchases instead,” the BBB said.
- Don’t fall for phishing scams. Watch out for compromised account messages, fake retail coupons, emails claiming there’s been a problem with package delivery, and more. Read up on phishing scams to avoid falling prey.