Delaware News

AG offers tips for avoiding holiday shopping scams

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just in time for Black Friday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost shares some tips for consumers to avoid potential scams while preparing for the holiday shopping season.

“It can definitely be the most wonderful time of the year,” Yost said, “but a scam or a bad shopping experience has a way of quickly dampening the holiday spirit, bringing out the Grinch in us. Don’t let this happen to you.

The Office of the Attorney General recommends that consumers:

Research vendors carefully. Look for complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. Also check online customer reviews of the seller.

Beware of scams. Watch out for fake coupons. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware if someone asks you to pay with gift cards or wire transfers; both are commonly requested by scammers.

Check return policies. In Ohio, sellers can set their own return policies, including “no return” policies, but any retailer whose policy limits your ability to get a refund should clearly let you know before completing the purchase. Be sure to check return periods, which may change during the holidays.

Look for exclusions and limitations in ads. Material exclusions and limitations should be clearly disclosed. Check if an offer is only valid during certain hours, if only limited quantities are available, or if other terms and conditions apply. If a seller advertises a product at a certain price but it’s sold out by the time you respond to the ad, you may be eligible for a coupon. However, sellers are not required to provide rain checks if they clearly disclose the number of goods available at that price or if they clearly state that no rain checks will be given.

Understand the differences between gift cards. Not all gift cards have the same features or functions. A gift card that’s branded by a credit card company and can be used almost anywhere can lose value faster than a gift card from a single store. Promotional cards, such as those that are free with a purchase, may not offer the same protections as other cards and may last only a short time. If you receive a gift card, it’s generally best to use it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of loss, theft or loss of value.

Consider paying with a credit card, if possible. Paying with a credit card generally offers better protection against unauthorized charges than other types of payment methods. Generally, with a credit card, your liability for unauthorized charges is limited to $50, and you have certain rights to dispute charges that you may not have with a debit card or other payment method. .

Monitor your accounts. Regularly check your credit card and bank accounts for unauthorized charges or unexpected activity. If you have any problems, notify your credit card provider or bank immediately. The sooner you identify a problem, the sooner you can fix it.

Additionally, Cyber ​​Monday holiday shoppers should consider these tips:

Keep cybersecurity in mind. When purchasing offers online, do not use free public Wi-Fi when entering sensitive information such as a credit card number. Keep applications, software and operating systems up to date and use secure websites whenever you need to enter personal information.

Beware of skimming when shopping online. Cybercriminals can capture credit card information and personally identifiable information by browsing your data online. Look for the “s” in “https” to make sure a website is secure, and always check that the site you are on is the official (legitimate) company site. Also, use credit cards instead of debit cards; credit cards have more guarantees.

Check delivery dates and costs. Check the expected delivery date and shipping costs carefully before making a purchase. Find out if you’ll be charged shipping or restocking fees if you return the product. Plus, get delivered packages back quickly so they don’t get stolen or damaged on your doorstep.

Beware of package tracking or account freezing scams. You may receive text messages or emails notifying you of a shipping delay or that your account has been frozen. You may be asked to provide personal information or click on a link for additional information. But providing personal information or clicking on unknown links may cause financial damage or infect your computer with malware. Don’t click on links if you don’t know where they came from.

Consumers who suspect an unfair trade practice or want help resolving a consumer concern should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.


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