CHARLESTON, W.V. (WFXR) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reminding consumers to use caution when shopping online during the holiday season.
“Whether you choose to wait in line at a brick-and-mortar store or shop online from the comfort of your home, it’s important to beware of seasonal scams. Scammers take advantage of increased consumer activity during the holidays, and every transaction is an opportunity for a fraudster to steal your money or identity. Don’t let buying gifts result in personal information ending up in the wrong hands.”Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia Attorney General
Morrisey recommends consumers limit their use of debit cards and be aware of fraudulent websites or coupons that resemble the real thing.
Credit cards tend to provide the best protection to dispute charges when goods or services do not arrive as promised – whether items are purchased online or in-store.
Debit cards, like cash, however, do not provide special protection, Morrisey says.
In-store shoppers should also leave Social Security cards and other non-essential information at home, lock presents away in the trunk – not the back seat, and watch for skimming devices and use an RFID blocking sleeve or wallet to protect credit/debit cards from electronic pickpockets.
Online shopping brings a whole new set of risks.
Online shoppers should watch for misspellings, low-quality images and ensure URL addresses accurately and legitimately match the known retailer’s website.
These tips will help consumers identify fraudulent websites or illegitimate coupon offers hastily created to steal money and personal information.
Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
The best way to pay for items purchased online is to use a secure payment system. Be sure the URL on the payment website begins with https:// as the “s” indicates a secure page.
If anyone feels as though they have been scammed while shopping should call the West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or visit the online office by clicking here.
Virginia residents can contact the Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by clicking here.
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