If you’ve hung around my blog long enough you already know I’m a huge fan of student discounts. I mean you’re livin’ on ramen noodles and Taco Bell anyways, so why not take advantage of every discount and deal that you can find. So to continue on that theme, I want to breakdown the Best Buy student discount program so you can save money on your next laptop, desktop, tablet, and a BUNCH of other cool products and accessories.
Next, you’ll be asked for your name, email, mobile number, school, and approximate date of graduation.
After you submit your information, you’ll get a text message with a verification code attached.
Just enter the code and you’ll gain immediate access to all of the current student discounts.
How Do I Actually Get My Discount?
Once you’re signed up, just click the “Get Your Deals” button and you’ll be taken to the student discounts page on the Best Buy website.
If you see a product that you’re interested in, click “Shop Now” and add it to your virtual shopping cart.
Important: Make sure the product has the “Student Deals” stamp next to it otherwise their is NO discount currently available.
You’ll notice that the actual student discount dollar amount is not shown to you until you get to the Payment Information page.
Once at the checkout page, you’ll enter any missing information and click “Continue to Payment Information”.
This is where the magic happens. On the left-hand side you’ll see Offers and Rewards, this is where you’ll see your student discount on the item you’re buying.
Click Apply next to the offer and your new order total should now reflect the discount.
VERY Important: Remember, if you don’t click “Apply”, you WON’T get your discount.
What Types of Discounts Can I Expect?
As I mentioned earlier most discounts are on college tech items like tablets, laptops, earbuds, cables, and other accessories.
A few recent student deals that caught my eye include the following:
– $100 OFF a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
– $250 OFF select MacBook models.
– $140 OFF a Hewlett Packard Laptop.
– 30% OFF a bunch of Microsoft accessories like a wireless mouse, keyboard, and Xbox One controller.
– $300 OFF a 2-in-1 HP Spectre Laptop.
Are Discounts Available Year-Round?
They seems to come-and-go and tend to be most prevalent around the “back-to-school months” like July, August, and September.
BONUS: Best Buy Student Discount Insider “Hacks”
1. Don’t Have To Be a Current Student – When I successfully enrolled myself in the program I was able to use my personal email that was associated with a local junior college that I took a classes at a few years ago.
2. Don’t Need a .edu Email Address – While many student discount programs require a .edu email address, Best Buy definitely does NOT.
3. You’ll Gain Access to More Than Student Discounts – If Best Buy doesn’t currently have any deals specifically for students, you should check out the “member only” deals.
You might just find a sweet deal on something you need for school.
Ask the Reader: Besides 2-for-1 ramen packages, what’s the biggest student deal, coupon, or discount you’ve ever scored?
Nothing worse than shopping online, finding that perfect gift, then realizing it’s too late to get it delivered by Christmas morning. With that in mind, I did the research and figured out the holiday shipping deadlines for FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service. I also broke down the deadlines when shopping online at the big 3: Amazon, Walmart, and Target.
December 14th: USPS Retail Ground
December 18th: Alaska to Mainland 1st Class Mail
December 19th: Hawaii to Mainland 1st Class Mail and Priority Mail
December 19th: Alaska to Mainland Priority Mail
December 20th: 1st Class Mail
December 21st: Priority Mail
December 21st: Alaska/Hawaii to Mainland Priority Mail Express
December 23rd: Priority Mail Express Service
December 9th: FedEx Smart Post
December 16th: Ground & Home Delivery
December 20th: FedEx 2Day and 2Day a.m.
December 23rd: Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight
December 25th: SameDay, SameDay City Direct, SameDay City Priority
In case your Amazon Alexa enabled device wasn’t useful enough, now you can use it to sit on your couch and order your favorite meal from Chipotle Mexican Grill for delivery or pickup. Chipotle is even giving away free Amazon Echo Dots if you have a certain name. Here’s how it all works…
What Name Scores you a Free Echo Dot?
Well, let me give you a hint in case you didn’t read the entire headline. It’s not Fred, Ethel, or William.
If your name is Alexa you score a brand spanking FREE Echo Dot courtesy of Chipotle.
Oddly, Chipotle’s press release on this freebie had ZERO information on how to collect your free device.
So if you’re lucky enough to be named Alexa, I would just head to your local Chipotle with your photo ID and ask an employee what the dealio is.
How Exactly Do I Use Alexa to Order Chipotle Chow?
Let’s break this down into a few easy steps.
1. Download the Alexa app. If you own an Alexa enabled device you’ve probably already done this. If not, you can download it for iOS or Android to your phone or tablet.
2. Enable the Chipotle Skill within the app. Within the app, tap the menu icon and tap “Skills & Games”. Then do a search for “Chipotle Reorder”. Tap the Chipotle skill, then tap “Enable to Use”.
3. Link Your Chipotle Account. Once you tap Enable to Use, you’ll be redirected to Chipotle’s site where you’ll need to sign-in to your account (or create a new one) so you can link your Chipotle account to Alexa.
They’re calling this a “reorder” skill because you can add your favorite meal to your Chipotle account and simply ask Alexa for that.
Unfortunately, you CAN’T order something from scratch, it has to be in your favorites within your Chipotle account.
But it still beats having to wade through their mobile app when your stomach is rumbling like Mt. Saint Helens.
So…What Exactly Do I Say to Alexa?
Here are the 2 commands that’ll score you Chipotle grub with VERY little effort.
– “Alexa, tell Chipotle to reorder my favorite for Delivery.”
– “Alexa, tell Chipotle to reorder my favorite for Pick-Up.”
I’ll keep this article updated in case they eventually add more flexibility to this “skill” and let you order other items.
Ask the Reader: Have you tried this Alexa “skill” yet? If so, was it an easy process to get your favorite grub quickly into your stomach?
I must have walked past the Costco Optical desk a dozen times before I realized that you can actually get your eyes examined in the warehouse. Once I realized this, I immediately had a bunch of questions. Who does the actual eye exam? What does it cost? Does Costco carry all the popular brand-name frames? Do they accept vision insurance? I figured I wasn’t the only one with these questions so the idea for this article was born. I hope I answer all of your questions so you can make an informed decision the next time you need new eyeglasses or sunglasses.
1. What Does a Costco Eye Exam Cost?
At my local Costco a regular eye exam costs $65 and a contact lenses exam costs $99.
Your $65 gets you an eye exam as well as a copy of your Eye Health Evaluation and Prescription.
You are under NO obligation to buy eyewear from Costco and can take your prescription anywhere you want.
It’s also worth noting that dilation and visual fields may require an additional fee.
2. How Do I Schedule an Eye Exam?
While walk-ins are welcomed when available, you’d be smart to call ahead and schedule your next eye exam.
Just call your local Costco and schedule your appointment.
At my Costco, exams are available from 10 am – 7 pm Monday-Friday, 9:45 am – 5 pm on Saturday, and 10 am – 3 pm on Sunday.
3. Do I Need to Be a Costco Member?
You do NOT need to be a Costco member to get an eye exam, but you DO need to be member to actually purchase eyeglasses or contact lenses.
If you’re getting an eye exam without a Costco membership, just tell the “card checker” at the door and they’ll happily let you in the warehouse and direct you to the optometry center.
Here are a few examples of great customer service at Costco.
From RicksterA2: “They’re very open to fixing any issues (including changing a lens or both if they don’t work right for you) LensCrafters used to get very annoyed with something like that.”
From JJB723: “One of the little nose rests broke on one of my pairs of glasses. They replaced both nose rests on the same visit for free.”
From Deleted: “I scratched my lens and asked if they could fix them, they couldn’t but the lady was having a good day and just replaced them for me.”
So…What Are the Cons of Using Costco Optical?
It’s not all rose colored glasses when considering Costco for your next pair of frames.
Here are some of the negatives that many people pointed out.
1. Limited Selection – Most locations have about 2.5 cases of men’s frames and 3 cases for women’s frames. While it’s a lot to pick from, it’s significantly less than places (and websites) that sell only frames.
2. Two Week Wait – Once you pick out your frames, expect to wait up to 2 weeks for them to be ready.
3. Not Enough Help – This complaint came from a user who noted there was not enough employees during busy times of the day.
4. Some Websites are Cheaper – I noticed during my research that more than one person recommended Zenni Optical.com as the single cheapest REPUTABLE option for buying frames and contacts.
Ask the Reader: Have you used your local Costco for eye exams or new glasses? What’s been your experience?
Some items in the Costco bakery are better deals than others. By knowing which products provide the most bang for your buck, and which bakery items can be “hacked” for even MORE savings, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Here are 7 such bakery hacks that will make you feel like a Costco genius.
My kids absolutely love the 12-pack of Costco muffins.
But they’re HUGE and they weren’t finishing them all before they got stale.
So we decided to try freezing them and much to our delight they freeze great. We found that you can microwave them at 50% power and they defrost quickly and evenly.
Apparently muffins is not all that freezes well from the Costco bakery. This Reddit user said “The butter croissants freeze wonderfully as well! I freeze them 4 a piece in a Ziploc bag, and throw them in the oven in the morning. Turn the oven on to 350 and by the time it’s preheated, my croissant is crispy and delicious.”
If you’re a Verizon customer I have a REALLY cool freebie that will take some of the sting out of your monthly bill. Starting today, many Verizon customers can get the new Disney+ streaming service FREE for an ENTIRE year. Here’s everything you need to know to start streaming today.
Are All Verizon Customers Eligible for Free Disney+?
Unfortunately, NO, not everyone is eligible for a free year of Disney+.
Only those with a Verizon Unlimited Plan or 5G Home Internet are eligible.
Specifically, eligible Unlimited plans include Verizon Unlimited, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, Above, Unlimited, Get More Unlimited, Do More Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, and Start Unlimited.
Verizon Business plans are not eligible.
Disney+ costs $6.99/month, or $69.99 for an annual membership, so the savings is nothing to scoff at.
If you have an Unlimited Plan it’s a total no-brainer to take advantage of this Disney+ offer.
Maybe you just got hired, or maybe you’re thinking of applying to be a Starbucks barista. In either case, it’s important to know all of the Starbucks benefits and perks that are offered. After all, one of these 8 benefits could easily sway your employment decision. Starbucks has been a leader in employee perks for years, especially for part time workers. Here’s a breakdown of all of their most important benefits so you can make an informed decision.
1. Starbucks Employee Discount
Their employee discount comes in at a very solid 30% off.
That means you get a 30% discount on all drinks when you’re not working as well as retail merchandise.
This discount is good at ANY Starbucks location on the days you’re not working.
But probably the coolest Starbucks employee perk is you get to take home a FREE bag of coffee, Tazo tea, VIA Ready Brew packets, or a box of 12 K-Cups EVERY week.
Plus, when you’re on-shift you’ll score free coffee drinks (up to 4) PLUS a free food item each shift.
2. Health Benefits (Even For Part-Time Work)
Starbucks will share the costs of health benefits for you and your family if you opt into one of their health plans above.
Starbucks says that the Silver Plan typically only costs employees $40 per paycheck, significantly less than other retailers.
The BEST part is that these health benefits are also available to part-time employees.
Just log at least 20 hours per week and you’re eligible.
Also, it’s worth noting that you have to be employed for 90 days before you become eligible.
Hobby Lobby is an interesting store as they appear to sell very little actual “Hobby” products. They’re more of a home decor store (along with arts & crafts) similar to Michaels. They sell a huge inventory of products and have a large number of returns everyday, making the Hobby Lobby return policy important to understand. Here’s EVERYTHING “return related” that you need to know plus a few bonus hacks to help you save money on your next purchase.
1. How Many Return Days Do I Get?
You have exactly 90 days from date of purchase to return items.
2. Do I Need My Hobby Lobby Receipt?
It’s HIGHLY recommended.
If you have your receipt you can opt for a refund to your original form of payment, an even exchange, or store credit.
(Updated 11/29/19) If you’re not hacking Black Friday in 2019, you’re clearly doing it all wrong. After all, it’s not Black Friday 2007 anymore, where the only way to save money was to set the alarm for an ungodly hour and go fight the unwashed masses for that last cheap 55″ television.
The game has changed, and so have the strategies and hacks you should employ on Black Friday weekend. Here are nine Black Friday hacks that will not only save you money, but in many cases, will allow you to enjoy time with your friends and family, and still score a killer deal.
1. Know Which Products Are Cheaper Closer to Christmas
Don’t be fooled by the ads, not all Black Friday 2019 deals are created equal, and most are NOT the cheapest prices you’ll find this year. Many popular retailers, selling electronics, toys, apparel and gift ideas will actually have cheaper prices closer to Christmas.
Based on the coupons and deals that we get here at Rather-Be-Shopping every December over the past 16 years, below are the absolute best days to shop this year in order to maximize your savings.
Christmas Toys: Thursday, December 12th.
Stocking Stuffers: Monday, December 9th.
Apparel and Shoes: Saturday, December 14th. (Free Shipping Day)
HDTV’s: Weekend of December 6 – 8th.
Tools & Hardware: Friday, December 13th.
Laptops/ChromeBooks: Thursday, December 12th.
PS4 and Xbox: December 12th-15th.
Winter Apparel: Saturday, December 14th.
Jewelry/Wedding Bands: December 4 – 25th.
Fitness Gear: Monday, December 9th.
Kitchen Stuff: Saturday, December 14th.
In most cases, these days will definitely give you “better than Black Friday” prices.
Name Brand (Quality) Televisions. Don’t buy on Black Friday. Sure there are always some screaming deals on TV’s on Black Friday. The problem is the brands you’ll find on sale are typically unrecognizable. Along with the 3rd tier brands are questionable specs and quality.
If you’re a college student and looking for a disposable TV from Best Buy for your dorm room you’ll want to head out BF morning. If you’re looking for a quality TV that will hold up for the long run, you’ll want to look for deals right after Christmas through February.
The reasoning is new models are typically released in late January at the Consumer Electronics Shows in Vegas. Plus, sellers always offer sweet deals around the Super Bowl. Both of these reasons will help you score a sweet deal on a high quality brand like Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic.
Christmas Toys Don’t buy on Black Friday. Instead, wait until 9-10 days before Christmas as that’s when prices are notoriously lower than on BF weekend. Sure, you might see some deals sprinkled in the Black Friday ads but none as good if you wait a couple weeks. Also, shop at Costco for toy deals, more on that later.
Fitness Equipment. Don’t buy on Black Friday. Always wait until January to shop for fitness equipment. Retailers notoriously offer some great sales and incentives to folks looking to get in shape as a New Year’s resolution.
Winter Apparel. Don’t buy on Black Friday. Deals will NOT be abundant in late November as retailers take advantage of a cold and captive audience for jackets, hoodies, boots, and parkas.
When it comes to scoring deals on apparel, the general rule is that it is always the most expensive during the season it is being worn. Wait until the last few weeks of winter and you’ll easily save 50% off that next coat or pair of boots.
Large Appliances. Don’t buy on Black Friday. New model refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens hit the sales floor in September and October.
Because of this, you might be able to find a good deal on last year’s models on Black Friday but new models are typically not discounted very much. Smaller kitchen appliances like microwaves, blenders, and mini fridges will be on sale at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Tools and Hardware. Don’t buy on Black Friday. Unless you absolutely need them, power tools are a much better deal during the few weeks leading up to Father’s Day.
Our research has shown that Father’s Day coupons and sales on cordless drills, table saws, routers, and the like, are 30% better than Black Friday weekend. If you can afford to wait you’ll save some significant money.
DSLR Cameras. Don’t buy on Black Friday. Buy your high-end DSLR camera in February after the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. You’ll be able to score a sweet deal on last seasons model as retailer discount them heavily in order to make room for the newest and greatest models.
Also, if a slick little ‘point and shoot’ digital camera is in your future, then there will be plenty of deals to pick from on Black Friday.
3rd Tier Televisions. Buy on Black Friday. Many of your door-buster BF deals are on 3rd tier HDTVs, also known as “off brand” televisions. Last year saw some pretty crazy deals. 42″ HDTV’s in the $150 range.
I have actually seen a couple predictions for Black Friday 2019 that included a 50″ 4K TV in the $125-$150 range. But be prepared to settle for brands you have never heard of in most cases.
A Best Buy employee actually just told me that most of the door-buster TV’s they get for Black Friday are specifically made for that day and are not of good enough quality to stock all year long. Yes, the deals are often amazing but know what you are getting. Buyer beware.
Clearance Apparel. Buy on Black Friday. Retailers really start slashing their fall clothing lines every Black Friday weekend. We are talking like 65% to 75% off at stores like Old Navy, American Eagle, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Lands’ End.
My wife and I regularly stock up for our 3 kids on Black Friday. We’ll buy a size or 2 up and store until the following autumn. With savings in the 75-80% off range it just makes sense.
Plus, if you prefer to stay at home on Black Friday and sleep in, just shop on Cyber Monday when you’ll see the best online coupons of the year at online clothing and apparel retailers.
Budget Laptops (Chrome Books). Buy on Black Friday. Last BF we saw quality budget laptops from Dell ($150 at Best Buy) and the 14″ Chromebook for under $100. Look for similar, or better, deals this year.
These systems usually come equipped with a 14″ or 15″ screen and a dual core processor and RAM in the 2-4 GB range. If you’re not doing any serious gaming, video editing, or going to be running a bunch of programs at once, they will definitely suffice.
Tablets. Buy on Black Friday. Tablets from brands like Samsung, Microsoft, and Lenovo have been a major draw in recent years and the deals have been pretty amazing.
This year look for the Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet to drop to below $80 on Black Friday (currently $149.99 at Best Buy.com). Also, Amazon.com will be running big deals on their Kindle Fire tablet. Black Friday is an excellent day to score a deal. Also, look for the iPad Air Pro to be $100 off at Best Buy.
Apple Products (Except the Newest iPhone). Buy on Black Friday. In 2018, there was only one day when Apple products were on sale almost across the board. Any guesses? Yes, it was Black Friday.
The discounts were modest but definitely noteworthy: $41 off the iPad Air and iPad 2, $21 off the iPod touch, $101 off the MacBook Air, $101 off the MacBook Pro with Retina display and $101 off the popular iMac. Just be sure to not shop at the Apple Store as deals at stores like Walmart and Best Buy will be better.
Look for both retailers to offer significant gift cards with an Apple purchase to entice Black Friday shoppers.
Home/Kitchen Goods & Decor. Buy on Black Friday. Deals are always abundant on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Great time to stock up if you’re not brand specific.
You might not find a screaming deal on All Clad and Calphalon but cheaper brands will really have their prices slashed.
Xbox One and PS4 Games. Buy on Black Friday. According to many gaming websites the single best day to pick up a screaming deal on new and older games is on Black Friday weekend.
Look for new titles to drop by 20-30% and older titles to really be cleared out and sold for up to 75% off. Also, if you are cool with pre-owned titles Gamestop will probably offer the same offer as last year of “Buy 2 used products, get 1 Free”.
Perhaps you’d rather avoid the Black Frenzy frenzy altogether, keep reading…
The reason is simple, yet often overlooked. Many “wanna-be entrepreneurs” will stand in line for hours, or days, to snatch up the VERY limited number of door-buster deals. They’ll then try to turn a quick profit by placing their loot on eBay for a quick sale via an auction.
But those familiar with supply & demand realize the market gets a bit saturated and thus you can buy the item for just a fraction more than if you stood in line for hours.
This works best for small electronics, laptops, HDTVs, Blu-ray movies, external hard drives, flash drives, and smartphone accessories.
4. Early Bird Gets the Worm
By “early bird”, I’m not talking about being the first one through the doors on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.
I’m talking about shopping on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Black Friday and scoring a deal. In many cases, you can get the same deal you’d get by camping in a ridiculously long line on Thanksgiving or the Friday after.
For example, I was recently talking to a loyal Home Depot shopper and she informed me that she shops their right before every Black Friday and scores some amazing savings.
She said they put Black Friday “teasers” in the aisles towards the front of the store and last year she got a mini-fridge for $98 (regularly $159) and the year before that she scored a Ryobi Drill set for $99 (regularly $149).
Skip the crowd, shop early, and get the same deal as Black Friday shoppers. Besides Home Depot, look for these Black Friday teasers in Walmart, Target, Michaels, Office Depot, Best Buy, and Toys R Us.
5. Say “Alexa, What Are Your Black Friday Deals?”
Try this before November 23rd and Alexa will tell you to be patient.
Ask her on November 24th and she’ll tell you about a bunch of exclusive Black Friday deals from Amazon that’ll save you a wad of cash.
You’ll even be able to buy the item with your voice and not have to waste an ounce of energy. If you’re like me, and still in a turkey and pumpkin pie comma, you’ll appreciate this.
6. Abandon your Virtual Shopping Cart
During the week before Black Friday this year, try filling your virtual shopping cart with merchandise, then logout of your account.
By doing so, in many cases, it will trigger an automated coupon sent to your inbox pleading for you to come back and complete your purchase with the coupon. Coupons are often for free shipping, 10%, 15% and even 20% off your purchase.
Here are 17 popular retailers that have been known to send you a coupon after you abandon your cart. The key is to register with the site so they have your email address. Give it a try this year.
7. Shop Online…Then Hit Up Live Chat
When shopping online the week of Black Friday, and all the way through Cyber Monday (November 26th), you’re bound to run into a situation where the price, or shipping charge, is a little higher than you were expecting.
It’s times like this where you’ll be happy you stumbled upon this article. Simply hit up the live chat feature that many online retailers employ and politely ask the operator for a coupon for free shipping or a percent off your purchase.
If you own a smartphone, these are the apps that will save you money and time on Black Friday:
Black Friday @ Deal News (iOS, Android): Use this free app to get all the breaking Black Friday ads directly on your Apple or Android device. You can even get alerts for when new Black Friday ad are released. Use the app to find the best deals early on, then plan your shopping trip accordingly.
ShopSavvy (iOS, Android): Use this free app to quickly scan the product’s barcode in-store and find out where it may be sold cheaper on Black Friday, including online competitors.
DealNews (iOS, Android): On Black Friday, and the days leading up to it, you’ll be able to use their free app to quickly check out the day’s 300 hottest deals, vetted by deal experts.
Amazon App (iOS, Android): Use the Amazon shopping app to do real-time Amazon price comparisons while you’re standing in the aisle on BF morning. Why? Well, according to the Krazy Koupon Lady, “Over 17% of items on Black Friday will actually cost MORE than their current selling price on Amazon.com. Don’t get suckered.”
It’s time to use technology to make Black Friday a little easier to navigate. The above apps will help you do just that.
9. Shopping for Toys? Head to Costco
When most shoppers think about buying Christmas toys, they think Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us. But when it comes to finding the best prices on popular toys this year, your first stop should be at Costco.
In Christmases past, they have consistently beat the price of the competition on popular brands like NERF, Melissa & Doug, Fisher-Price, KidKraft, Disney, Hello Kitty, Star Wars, and Maxim to name a few.
Don’t believe me? Use the Amazon app to do a quick price comparison at Costco, you’ll find their prices to be 15-40% cheaper than Amazon. While they might not have the largest selection in the world, the popular toys that they do offer are consistently cheaper than the competition.
In the end, remember that most Black Friday deals will be available online this year. The only exception is the five door-buster HDTV’s that Best Buy and Walmart will have really cheap for those willing to camp-out for a couple days. Totally not worth it, as those 3rd tier models are garbage.
I was even told by a Best Buy employee that they’re made specifically for Black Friday 2019 with inferior parts. So in the end, in terms of quality, they may not be worth the cheap price tag.
I keep hearing in the news that online scammers are out in full force this year. So I figured it was time to write a post on how to protect your personal information, especially your credit card information. If you are planning on doing any online shopping between now and Christmas morning you need to read this post. After all, a great deal or coupon ain’t worth a darn thing if your personal info is compromised in the process. Here are five very prevalent scam tactics you need to be aware of so you can protect yourself this holiday season.
1. Phishing Emails
The above photo is of an actual email sent out to look like a real Amazon email telling folks about their ‘Deal of the Day’.
Pretty well done, huh? But once the receiver of this bogus email moused over a link they saw that the url pointed to an ED pill website.
Be wary of any promotional email you receive that you don’t recall signing up for as there’s a good chance it’s bogus and “fishing” for your private information.
Never click on a link in an email or open an email attachment unless you know with 100% certainty who the email came from.
Email Examples to be Aware of Include:
“Click to Verify” Emails
For example, an email saying that your order has been shipped with “XYZ retailer” and you need to click on a link to verify your delivery address.
The sender knows that .03% of the spam emails they send out actually has a recipient that placed an order with XYZ.
They are banking on that person clicking on the link and verifying their address and probably credit card information as well.
If you actually did place a recent order with XYZ retailer and get an email like this, go to their website and log-in or call their customer service department and see if you have any messages and if you actually need to verify something.
Followed by something like, “Just click this link to add the coupon to your online store account.”
Again, if it sounds to good to be true, it is. The scumbag sender is digging for your account log-in ID and password in the hopes of getting to your credit card information.
“From eBay or Apple” Emails
Also, be wary of emails claiming to be from eBay and Apple.
There are some really authentic looking ones floating around right now. They typically ask you to verify your recent purchase or delivery information.
Never trust an email like this, always go directly to ebay.com or the Apple Store website from your browser and log-in to your account.
Take a look at the email above claiming to be from Apple. In particular, look at the red circle and the bogus email address it supposedly came from, this is a BIG red flag.
That is the only place you should be verifying anything having to do with your account or personal information.
2. Price to Good to Be True
While this tip seems completely obvious, many consumers still fall for it, otherwise online scammers would have moved on to a different strategy a long time ago.
If you get an email or are on a website and the price of the product is substantially lower than anywhere else, and you have never heard of the seller, the red flag in your brain should be raised.
Always follow your gut instincts as it’s right a majority of the time.
If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of a retailer or seller, I suggest checking out their track record with the BBB and do a quick Google search for any reviews.
The prospect of a great deal is never worth compromising your personal information or credit card number.
3. Funny Looking Website
If you somehow end up on a site called Amazan, and it looks very similar to Amazon.com, get the heck out of dodge and leave the site ASAP.
While this example is kinda simplistic, you would be blown away with the number scam sites that are set-up to look identical to legit online retailers.
While the spam team at Google is getting better at detecting these sites and keeping them out of your search results, they still slip though the cracks from time to time.
When trying to figure out if a website is legit, look for these signals:
– Does the website have a contact us section or page with an actual phone number or mailing address? Can you call and talk to someone? If the website in question gives you ZERO possible ways of getting in touch with them, they are probably not legit.
– Does the URL at the top of your web browser turn from http:// to https:// when you’re on the payment page? If it does not, then the site is NOT secure and you shouldn’t enter your credit card information under any circumstances.
– Does the website have grammatical errors along with pictures and item descriptions that aren’t professional in nature? If it does, the site was undoubtedly hastily thrown together and NOT to be trusted.
4. Password Protect Your Smartphone
I read an article recently about a lady who set her iPhone down on a table at Starbucks and walked up to get her drink and add various creams and spices to it.
In that short period of time when she wasn’t paying attention, a horrible person was able to use her phone to get her credit card information off a shopping app.
So you’re probably saying, “Why would she leave her phone just sitting there for anyone to take?”
Good question, but I can honestly say that I leave my phone unattended way too often.
Whether it be at my son’s basketball practice when I don’t have pockets in my shorts, or on the driver’s seat when I walk into the gas station to pay, it’ll inevitably happen.
The solution: Always password protect your smartphone so would-be thieves can’t get access to your personal information. It’s also really smart to create strong passwords for all your email and shopping accounts.
5. Beware of Gift Card Scams
In the past I’ve talked about buying discounted gift cards, but if you’re planning on buying a gift card or two as Christmas gifts this year, you should proceed with caution.
Purchasing discounted gift cards from auction sites like eBay or Craigslist has a risk associated with it.
If the gift card you buy is stolen or fraudulent it is going to be canceled by the merchant before it can be redeemed.
The risk is much higher during the holiday season as scammers know that the demand for gift cards is greatly increased.
Avoid this risk altogether and only buy gift cards directly from the retailer or from authorized sellers like drugstores, department stores, and discount stores.
Ask the Reader: Have you or someone you know fell victim to one of these online scams?