Safe Holiday Shopping
While scams are committed year round, they seem to increase during the holidays when shoppers are distracted with the hustle and bustle of everything going on around them, whether it be from the shopping itself to holiday chitter chatter when you’ve run into an old friend, or a too good to be true deal found online. There are scammers everywhere looking to accomplish one thing in their daily routine, separate you from your money. To keep you safe and more alert, here are some Tips to Safe Holiday Shopping:
- When making a major purchase, such as televisions, computers, etc., do your research to assure yourself that you are getting the best value for your money. If you have the slightest doubt about any purchase, stop and do further research until you are confident in your selection and purchase.
- If you’re doing business with a local company, ask lots of questions until you are comfortable before you make the purchase. If the company is reputable, they will always be pleased to provide you with references. Verify the company with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbbsc.org or by calling toll-free 1-866-206-1800.
- Shopping online: There are advantages of shopping on the web - not having to leave the comfort of your home to fight a crowd at a store, items delivered right to your front door. A lot of businesses on the web are legitimate, but you just have to remember to use caution in selecting who you do business with. Do business with companies that can provide a physical address, not just a post office box. Print copies of the online products/ services of your purchases, including any receipts or confirmations that you may receive. It is recommended to pay by credit card instead of a check or money order. If you should encounter a problem and the company refuses to fix the issue or deliver the item, you can dispute the purchase with the issuer of the credit card, thus standing a better chance of having your money returned. Be sure when paying by credit card online that it is a secure website (the URL starts out “https”). Never wire money for an online purchase.
If you are a victim of an online scam, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
IDENTIFY A SCAM BEFORE A SCAM IDENTIFIES YOU!