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How to Avoid Cyber Monday Scams

Saturday, November 24, 2012

 

Next to “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday” has become one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. Analysts predict that instead of braving the crowds at the mall on Black Friday, over 120 million shoppers will opt to shop online from the comfort of home. However, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is reminding consumers to be cautious of the potential pitfalls of online shopping.

“More and more people are buying their holiday gifts online to avoid the hustle and bustle of the mall this time of year,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “However, it is important for consumers to be vigilant, both online and at the mall. Just as you keep your wallet in a safe place, it’s important to safeguard your personal information when shopping online. Keep in mind that while you’re looking for deals, scam artists are looking for you.”

Attorney General Kilmartin offers the following online shopping and internet safety tips to help consumers protect their identities and avoid scams while holiday shopping:

· Make sure your computer has updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software, updated spam filters and a secure firewall.

· Use secure websites. A secure website has an address that begins with “https” and has a small padlock at the bottom of the page.

· Do not click on a link or open an attachment from an unknown source.

· Use a business/retailer that you know or trust.

· Be familiar with the policies of each website. Get details about refund policies and restocking fees as well as shipping and handling fees.

· Make sure you read the site’s privacy policy to understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If there isn’t a privacy policy posted, it is a red flag that personal information may be sold to others without your permission.

· Beware of deals from unsolicited e-mails and offers on websites offering extremely low prices on hard to get items that sound “too good to be true”.

· Make sure the seller lists an address and phone number to call in case you have questions.

· Pay by credit card in case you need to dispute the bill or withhold payment.

· Print out and keep records of your purchases.

· Beware of phishing attempts- Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure the consumer into revealing financial information. If you do receive such an e-mail, call the retailer directly. Do not reply to the e-mail and do not provide personal identifying information (ie your Social Security Number, your credit card or bank account information).

If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Department of Rhode Island Attorney General at (401) 274-4400. You can download a consumer complaint by visiting our website at www.riag.ri.gov. You can also email us at contactus@riag.ri.gov.

 

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