The holiday season is here and the shopping is in full swing, but there are some scams to be aware of as the holidays near.
While online shopping can be a convenient way to purchase items and gifts that may not be in stock at a nearby store, it is also a way for scammers to take advantage.
Scammers can target consumers through social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
To avoid fraud and fraud when shopping, State Dept. officials recommend. of Banking and the State Dept. of Consumer Protection:
- Be suspicious of buying items through ads on Facebook. Often there are similar websites masquerading as reputable retailers.
- You can open a separate, secure browser and find the retailer’s website yourself to ensure you’re buying from a reputable company.
- Check out the company online.
- You can type the company’s name into a search engine to check complaints, reviews, and scams.
- Make sure the website uses encryption to protect information during transactions.
- You can search for https at the beginning of a URL.
- Use a credit card for online purchases.
- You may dispute credit card charges and, under federal law, are only responsible for unauthorized charges up to $50.
- Check your credit card and bank statements, and contact the financial institution if you find charges you didn’t make.
- Check the return policy.
- Familiarize yourself with the return policy, including the time frame and fine print, before purchasing.
- Don’t forget to keep the receipt.
If you use peer-to-peer apps like PayPal, Venmo, Cashapp, andzelle, there are ways to protect yourself, including only using them with people you know and trust. Your rights to dispute a transaction may not be the same as with credit card companies.
Jorge Perez, head of the Connecticut Department of Banking, reminds residents to spot attempts to steal your information.
“Scammers try to trick us by sending emails, texts or social media ads that look legitimate. Be wary of unsolicited messages you receive asking you to provide personal information such as your bank account number or passwords,” Perez said in part in a statement.
Michelle Seagull, Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection at the US Department of State, adds that nothing ruins the joy of the holiday quite like being the victim of fraud or identity theft.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the celebrations and winter shopping season and lose your guard. That’s why we’re reminding consumers to stay cautious when doing their Christmas shopping,” she added in part.
To report suspected fraud or fraud, you may contact the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Banking at (860) 240-8170 or by email at [email protected] or online at ct.gov/dob .
If you have been the victim of fraud or purchased a misrepresented product, you can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection by email at [email protected] or online at ct.gov/dcp.