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BBB warns to be aware of e-receipts

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 1:52 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — As technology has become more advanced, stores have found different ways to incorporate technology into the shopping experience. In the past few months some retailers and banks have started offering consumers the option of receiving e-receipts. This paperless option helps to reduce clutter and waste, but the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) reminds shoppers to be aware of identity theft while using this new technology.    

These e-receipts offer new opportunities for both stores and consumers. For many stores the e-receipts are tied to the store card or the clerk can quickly enter your email address at the end of the purchase. It is a way for the store to save money and offer another option for the customer.    

E-receipts also offer an easier way for consumers to keep of track and file away receipts to help with a return or exchange at a later date. They also help to cut down on waste and clutter for the consumer.   

For shoppers who are interested in opting for e-receipts, BBB offers the following tips:  

Find out how the business plans to keep your information secure. Check the business’ privacy policy. You will want to check to see if the business plans on selling your information to third-parties. If they do, be on the lookout for unsolicited emails requesting your personal information; they could be scams that download malware on your computer.  

Ask if you can opt-out of receiving promotional emails. Now that the business has your email address, it’s possible you’ll start to receive coupons, newsletters and other promotional emails from them...and even from others if they’ve sold or shared your data. You may want to set up a separate email address to use for paperless receipts so that you can easily monitor it for spam.

Beware of scams. Having receipts emailed can also make you susceptible to phishing and other identity theft scams. Scammers pose as retailers or banks with realistic-looking emails that may claim there are problems with your purchase and request that you click a link to fix it. The link may take you to a fraudulent site that asks for your personal information, or it might download malware on your computer that will search your hard drive for account numbers and passwords.

Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. Whether or not you plan to increase your internet and email use, it’s always a good idea to make sure your system’s security plan is updated regularly. Spammers feed off of online shoppers who fail to update their security patches.

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