Protecting Yourself from Fraud on Black Friday

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And for a lot of people that means gearing up for the big Black Friday sales. However, recent events have a lot of people wonder how safe it is to shop - both online and in person. So how can you stay safe and enjoy all those savings? We have some tips for you. This week we'll be talking about shopping in person on Black Friday. Next week we'll discuss staying safe when shopping online on Cyber Monday.

Cash Only
The fool-proof way to avoid identity theft or fraud when shopping is to use cash. Many people swear by cash only, saying it no only protects them from fraud but from overspending as well. However, this isn't always feasible for everyone. It can be a different kind of dangerous to carry around enough cash for the big purchases that are often made on Black Friday.

Use Credit Card instead of Debit

Using a credit card  versus a debit card can offer more protection if you are hacked when shopping online. Under the Fair Credit Bill, consumers are responsible for up to $50 of fraudulent charges. Some banks offer similar protection if you use their debit cards, but it's not the same at every bank. It can change if you don't catch it and report it within a certain time-frame. So if you're purchasing big ticket items it can be safer to use a credit card.

Don't have a credit card? Many debit cards are now supported by Visa. This gives you the same rights as a Visa credit card holder. That means you can choose to run it as credit at the store and have more protection. Remember this can mean that your purchases may not show up on your account right away.

Use Common Sense

  • Like most things in life, common sense can be your best defense. 
  • Don't use your card at machines where the card slot looks loose or damaged. This can mean that someone has been tampering with the machine. 
  • Keep your card and cash in a secure location. Pickpockets are prevalent during the holiday season. 
  • Don't leave your purse unattended. We know, this one seems like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to get distracted and step away from your cart for 'just a minute.' 
  • Check your bank account before and after you shop and monitor it closely for a few days after.
Image found here

Don't miss next week's blog when we discuss tips for staying safe while shopping online - just in time for Cyber Monday! 

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National Read an eBook Day with Overdrive and Hoopla!

Today is National Read an eBook Day when we celebrate one of the most convenient ways to read a book.

Nothing can replace the feel of a book in your hands or the way a full bookshelf can brighten any room, but eReaders can offer new possibilities to those who are unable to get to their local library branch to borrow books. The ability to customize font size and type, contrast and built in lights can offer improved experience for those readers who are visually impaired.

At Bossier Parish Library we have two services that allow you to borrow eBooks on your device: Overdrive and Hoopla.

Hoopla is our relatively new service that offers not just eBooks, but eAudiobooks, Music and Movies. You can find it online at You can also find our instructions here on our blog: Hoopla.

Overdrive is one of our older services, but adds new content every day. Overdrive also allows you to download eBooks. and Audiobooks. You can find it online at or you can download the Overdrive app on to your phone or tablet.

For more information on these or any other Digital Service provided by Bossier Library, ask at your local branch! We will also be having a Digital Services information session on Friday September 25th at the Central Branch. Pick up a class calendar for more details! 

Free Online Classes with Gale Courses

It's time for students and teachers to once again head Back to School. Would you like to learn a new skill or prepare for certifications on your own time? Bossier Library  Bossier Parish Library has joined with Gale Courses to offer free online courses in a variety of subjects! You can enroll in classes in everything from Accounting and Finance to Languages and Arts. Classes start every few weeks so you can start only when you're ready. Signing up is quick and easy! And best of all - free! We'll go through the steps today.
These classes are instructor-led and highly interactive. They run for 6 weeks and new sessions begin every month. 
To get to the Gale Courses homepage you can click here or go to the Bossier Parish Library website: There is a link for Gale Courses on the left hand side of the web page, under the Research & Homework heading. 

This will take you to the page for the Gale Courses.On this page you should see the BPL logo in the top left hand corner - this will let you know you're in the right place. You can search for a specific class or browse by topics like Accounting and Finance or Law and Legal

Once you've decided on the course you'd like to take, choose the Enroll Now button.  If it's your first time using the service, you'll have to fill out some basic information such as Name, Email address and choosing a password. If you've already done that once before you'll be asked to log in. Once enrolled you'll find more details and an orientation.  Soon after you'll receive an email letting you know you've been enrolled. It may mention tuition but don't worry! All classes are free with Bossier Parish Library! 

Several of our staff have already taken advantage of these classes - including me! I took several courses to learn more about Computer Repair. I enjoyed the videos and lectures that were included in each week's lesson. In the courses I took there were weekly quizzes that did not count toward your final grade, but did offer great practice for the final exam. I also liked that I wasn't penalized for getting a little behind when work and life kept me from working on that week's lesson. I was able to catch up with no problem at all. I highly recommend these courses to anyone. I'm already looking for the next course I can take. 

What classes will you take? Let us know below! If you have questions about how to enroll in classes contact us on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can always contact your local Bossier Parish Library. 

You can also now follow us on Instagram and Pinterest!

Social Media Spotlight: Twitter

It's time for another Social Media Spotlight. This week we'll be talking about Twitter!

What is Twitter?

By now you have probably heard of the social networking site Twitter. Founded in 2006, Twitter is a social media platform that lets you share messages with online 'followers.' Unlike Facebook, Twitter posts are restricted to 140 characters only, meaning that for the most part messages are short and to the point. Twitter has been embraced by businesses and celebrities as a way to interact directly with customers and fans. We even have a library twitter account!

One of the most popular uses for Twitter to keep up with you favorite celebrities or television shows. You can see behind-the-scenes photos, candid shots of the celebrities and even ask them questions. (There's no guarantee that they'll see or respond, of course) One of my personal favorite twitter trends is television actors "live-tweeting" episodes. Which means when an episode airs the stars of show watch it and tweet interesting facts about filming the episode.

You don't have to be into to celebrities to enjoy Twitter. It also allows you to keep up with breaking news - both locally and internationally. You can be get the headlines as they happen on your twitter account. In fact, some people choose not to post at all, instead using Twitter as a way to stay current.

If you do choose to post, you don't have to let everyone one see it. Like Facebook and other social networking sites, Twitter allows you to make your account private. This means you decide who can see your tweets. Another way to keep people from reading your posts is to block them. This means they cannot see your posts or contact you directly.

Twitter can be used on your computer, smartphone or tablet via the web or by downloading an app.

Do you use Twitter? What is your favorite thing about it?

If you have an idea for blog posts or questions/comments, you can contact us on Facebook or Twitter

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