Tips to avoid shopping problems during the holiday season

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) — The state Attorney General’s Office is urging consumers to take caution when shopping during the holiday season.

The office is offering the following tips to avoid tricks and scams when shopping:

– In-store shoppers should leave Social Security cards and other non-essential information at home, lock presents away in the trunk, watch for skimming devices and use an RFID blocking sleeve or wallet to protect credit/debit cards from electronic pickpockets.

– Holiday credit card offers require a close reading of the contract. Deferred interest promotions may promise zero-percent interest through December 2018, but failure to pay off the entire balance by the promotion period’s end could stick the consumer with an interest charge dating back to the item’s original purchase date.

– Use credit cards as opposed to debit. Credit cards offer broader protections to dispute charges when goods or services do not arrive as promised. Debit cards, in contrast, are no different than cash and come with no special protection.

– Online shoppers should watch for spelling mistakes, low-quality images and ensure URL addresses legitimately match the known retailer’s website. These tips help shoppers identify fraudulent websites or illegitimate coupon offers created to steal money and personal information.

– Rely upon secure payment systems such as PayPal, avoid money transfers to unknown people and make sure any payment website starts with https:// as the “s” indicates a secure page.

If you feel you have been scammed when shopping, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit www.wvago.gov.



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