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CHICAGO — It’s no secret this weekend is the pre-imminent weekend to get the bulk of your holiday shopping done.

But the Better Business Bureau wants shoppers to know about a handful of shopping best practices and some things that shoppers should be on the lookout to avoid.

“You have to be careful. You have to do your research,” said Steve Bernas, President and CEO of the Chicago Better Business Bureau. “Don’t just do business with someone who shows up at your door, just like you would do online.”

Better Business Bureau Shopping Tips:

•    Research the shops nearest to you. Find out what past customers have to say by reading reviews online, such as those on, and learn what shops are participating by going to 
•    Get involved. Many communities are hosting special events to celebrate and support the businesses that make your hometown unique. Find out what local events are happening in your area on the Small Business Saturday website or visit your local chamber of commerce or community websites.
•    Sign-up for email alerts offered by the merchants in your area. Keep in mind you’ll probably get additional deals throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
•    Invite your friends and family. Turn this shopping event into a “friends and family” extravaganza! Visit your favorite local stores or explore a new one. Take time to get to know the local business owners.
•    Don’t just shop small; eat small! Small, independently owned restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops would love to see new customers.
•    Connect with businesses on social media. Many small businesses will advertise their sales via social media. Use #ShopSmall to search for information and share activities. Take a selfie at your favorite small business. Share it on social media with the #BBB and #ShopSmall to show you’re a fan. Leave a review on