Safe shopping on Cyber Monday plus ways to earn money back on your purchase

CLEVELAND - Are you tired of shopping yet? If you didn't shop 'til you dropped this weekend, there are still big savings to grab. Cyber Monday is here, and it's a day to grab great online discounts.

While it's called Cyber Monday, the online savings started before Thanksgiving. Many stores rebranded their sales to Cyber Monday deals this weekend. Some offers will last all week, others just for the day, while some sales go through Tuesday. Check your favorite store for the length of their sale.

Also, look for promotional codes for added savings like 10-20 percent. Many of the codes are listed on the sites Cyber Monday page, but you can also find them all year round on Retailmennot .

Before you click buy, check the price history of the item you are interested in to see if it's as good a deal as advertised. Google Product Search and PriceSpider are helpful tools.

Think outside the box 

Look beyond traditional retailers, and consider stores like TigerDirect, Abt Electronics, Dell, and Newegg if you're shopping for electronics.

TigerDirect has two of the five top HDTV deals listed by Dealnews offering savings of $185 and $190.

Best Buy has four of the five top laptop deals listed on Dealnews with three offering savings over $100.

Look for bundles on gaming systems, laptops and smartphones.

Dealnews said the best laptop discounts are the Dell Inspiron Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz 15.6 LED Backlit Laptop for $399.99 plus a $25 Best Buy gift card. That's a savings of $105.

While much of the hype is usually about televisions, try to hold out if you can. I saw so many people grabbing these on Black Friday, but the best deals are in January right before the Super Bowl and when new inventory is released.

Clothing and toy deals

If you are tired of all the electronics deals, you can save on clothing on Cyber Monday. Many retailers are slashing prices online and offering free shipping. Cashmere sweaters seem to be a big promotional item with some sites offering buy one get one free deals. The savings are significant at some stores with New York and Company offering 50-70 percent off.

If you are thinking about buying toys, the longer you wait the more you will save. If you want to buy now, try YoYo. The site is offering 40 percent off one toy.

Earn cash while shopping

To earn even more cash, purchase your product through Ebates or Fat Wallet. The site teams with retailers to offer you money back on your purchase. When I find something I want to buy, before I purchase it I check out Ebates to see if the retailer offers cash back on my purchase. During the holidays, the cash back rewards are sweetened so it's possible to earn 10 percent back on your purchase.

To qualify for the cash back, you have to link to the retailer through Ebates. Of course, your purchase is tracked, but some people don't care since they're making money too. Every quarter, a check arrives in the mail with your cash back reward.

Shop secure websites

Make sure you're shopping a secure site. Look for an "s" next to "http." You want to shop on sites that say "https". That means the site is secure.

Use your credit card

When you're shopping online, use a credit card rather than a debit card. It gives you extra protection as a consumer. If you don't receive the item, you are protected if you used your credit card. Most companies have a dispute process so you can get a refund for a service or product you don't receive.

Also, many credit cards offer extended warranties on top of the manufacturer warranty. It's a free service that gives you extra protection when you purchase with credit over debit.

Browse privately

Since you're giving personal information when you shop online, it's important to make sure you erase your digital footprint and keep your information secure. When you open a browser, put it in private mode. That way, your shopping won't be tracked with cookies. Secondly, your personal information won't end up in the wrong hands.

We have step by step instructions to shop privately with the various browsers:
Internet Explorer privacy options
Safari privacy options
Firefox privacy options
Google Chrome privacy options

Consider a Google Trusted store

Also, when you're shopping sites you never heard of consider choosing a retailer that is a Google Trusted store . Google allows companies who meet certain shipping and customer service guidelines to participate in the Google Trusted Store program for free.

The products must ship within the specified timeframe. Issues must be resolved and a low number of customers may receive help. Look for the logo on websites. Hover over that badge to see key stats on the merchant's shipping and customer service. You'll also see how many transactions that data is based on.

Of course, soon there will be imposters. Google has a "Verify" link that allows you to make sure that's a legitimate badge and reliability data.

If there is a problem with your order, Google will back you up under certain conditions.

 Google offers purchase protection for its trusted stores. You must opt in to this free protection. It protects you if there is a problem with your order and you can't resolve it with the company. You may be eligible for a refund for the amount you paid during purchase minus any refunds you receive. There is a lifetime maximum of $1,000. Only purchases shipping with the United States are eligible for this protection.

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