HARRISBURG - Attorney General Linda Kelly urged consumers to exercise caution during the holiday season to avoid common problems, scams and fraud.
“The holidays can be a busy and exciting time, filled with many distractions, so it is important for consumers to think before they spend,” Kelly said. "The pleasure of the holiday season can quickly be spoiled by crimes like identity theft or disputes involving gift purchases.”
Kelly said that consumers should review a number of important details before making a purchase at a store:
- Check the exchange and return policy for restrictions or exceptions.
- When shopping for a gift card or gift certificate, check for fees and expiration dates.
- Keep all records and receipts in case you need to return an item or as proof-of-purchase for warranty repairs.
- Check receipts for errors before you leave the store.
- Be careful dealing with seasonal businesses that may quickly disappear.
- Guard your purse or wallet and avoid carrying extra credit cards or personal information that could be lost or stolen.
“Online shopping has become increasingly popular, but making purchases by long-distance generates other potential problems and pitfalls,” Kelly said.
- Do your homework before buying, especially if you have never dealt with a particular store or seller before.
- Comparison shop for the best price, including shipping and handling fees.
- Research the seller to see if they have a history of problems or disputes.
- Understand all shipping costs and delivery times.
- Review refund and return policies.
- Print all receipts and emails to verify your purchase.
- Make sure your computer anti-virus program and firewall are up-to-date.
- Watch for ‘look alike’ websites that are used by scam artists.