Holiday shopping tips from the FTC on avoiding consumer fraud

Many Philadelphia residents are busy checking gifts off of their holiday shopping lists in stores and online. Unfortunately, some shoppers will fall victim to consumer fraud, and you do not want to be one of them.

Keeps these holiday shopping tips from the Federal Trade Commission in mind to stay safe:

Don’t fall for fraudulent emails or websites. Sometimes credible websites and emails can lead you to fraudulent sites offering brand name products for bargain prices. If the deals sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Do check out customer reviews before making purchases. However, make sure that you are using reviewing sources that you trust and not ones that are actually written by the vendor and disguised as customer reviews.

Don’t forget to save your receipts, even when shopping online. Make sure to also save your order number and keep a copy of return and refund policies, warranties, and shipping costs.

Do use caution when providing your personal information. There are many scams out there claiming to need your personal information to qualify you for a vacation, send you a free gift card or even deliver packages you supposedly ordered. Don't provide any personal information until you have verified that it is legitimate.

Don’t fall for charities that might be scams. Before providing any money to a charity, ask to see key information in writing such as the mission statement and exactly where the money goes. Legitimate charities will have this information and gladly supply it.

Do your research and read the fine print. Before making a big purchase such as jewelry or a new car, do plenty of research first to make sure you are getting the most for your money. Also, be sure to read the fine print before signing a purchase agreement.

Hopefully these tips will keep you safe this holiday shopping season. However, if you do run into trouble with bad purchases or companies, consult a consumer protection attorney for information and how to fight back. 

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