Beware of the bad guys when shopping for bargains in stores and on the internet. There are so many ways they can trick us from the old-fashioned 'bait and switch' type of scam to ads on legitimate websites that 'phish' for your financial information.

Here are a few tips we've picked up over years of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.

  • Read the ads carefully. If it sounds like it's too good to be true… it probably involves waiting in a long line outside for the doors to open and a very limited supply. If you're up for it, go for it!
  • Don't click on links in email or on facebook. It may look like it's from a store you shop at, but it could be cleverly disguised malware.
  • Don't click on a great deal on a site that lists everybody's deals, go directly to the store's site and look for it there.
  • Don't buy from a site that's not secure. Always make sure the site you buy from begins with 'https', not 'http.'
  • Don't buy counterfeits. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but counterfeiting is illegal and can be dangerous when it comes to electronics, in particular. If you want to see what the real Underwriters Laboratory seal looks like, click here.
  • Keep your packages close when you stop for a bite to eat and store them in your trunk when you head for your next shopping destination.
  • And remember where you parked!

Corporal Paul Mouton from the Lafayette Police Department will be on the CJ and Debbie Ray Show on Tuesday with some more reminders. Happy shopping!