A lot of the shopping this year is expected to shift online. A place it can be easy to fall victim to scams.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Woodland Mall is prepared for a Black Friday like its never seen before. In an effort to keep visitors safe during the pandemic, don’t expect to see the massive crowds of the past.

“We’ve got a smaller capacity limit than what we’ve had in the past so we’ll be socially distancing,” says Cecily McCabe, Woodland Mall’s marketing director. “Many of the retailers will be counting the number of patrons at the door so they don’t exceed those capacity limits.”

The mall will also implement enhanced cleaning protocols and extended hours. Some stores are even making special exceptions for those most in need.

“If you are in the high risk category or immunocompromised, you can schedule a private shopping experience with a stylist at your favorite store,” she says.

At Tanger Outlets, all 70 retailers were closed for Thanksgiving Day and did not open until 6 a.m. on Friday. Typically, the outlet mall opens at midnight on Black Friday. 

Stores have limited capacity and lines outside are socially distanced. The shops will be open until 9 p.m. Retailers are also offering curbside pickup and virtual shopping appointments for those who would rather not shop in person. 

Tanger also started its Black Friday offerings in early November to allow shoppers more time to shop the savings. 

But a lot of the shopping this year is expected to shift online. A place it can be easy to fall victim to scams.

“They clicked on it, they buy it, they hope they get it,” says Troy Baker, educational foundation director for the Better Business Bureau. “But they don’t have any experience with that website, they don’t know who they’re buying from or even where its coming from and they hope it shows up.”

If you see an item you like online, the BBB suggests doing research before giving your credit card info to the website.

“And if you can’t find information about that website you’re looking at, its probably a sign that they haven’t been around very long and you probably want to look somewhere else,” suggests Baker.

And when it comes down to it, he says sometimes the best advice comes from someone you know.

“Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, a family member, somebody you trust,” says Baker. “Does this sound right? Does this look right?”

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