ATTORNEY GENERAL JACKLEY URGES HOLIDAY SHOPPING SAFETY
Monday, November 20, 2023
PIERRE, S.D. - ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley reminds consumers to watch out not only for the good bargains, but shopping scams as well.
“This is a busy time for shopping, and it is easy to forget to about consumer scams,” said Attorney General Jackley. “But those who prey on stealing personal and financial information are still out there.”
Many people have already started the holiday shopping season and scam text messages have been reported from what appears to be legitimate businesses such as UPS, FedEx and USPS. Common scam messages, which encourage the consumer to click on the link provided, are: “We were unable to deliver your package, please contact us to provide further delivery details;” “Did you attempt to make the following purchase?;” and, “We’ve detected potential unauthorized access to your account, contact us immediately.”
The Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division warns consumers that such shopping scams can happen when either making in-store purchases or online.
“The precautions that we encourage you to use during the rest of the year also are important during the holiday season,” said Attorney General Jackley. “Be careful how you shop and always protect your personal and financial information from theft.”
People who believe they have been a victim of a shopping scam or theft are encouraged to call local law enforcement or the Consumer Protection Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-300-1986 or 605-773-4400.
Consumers can also sign up for Consumer Alerts via email from the Consumer Protection Division at www.consumer.sd.gov. Email addresses will not be shared or sold to a third party.
The Consumer Protection Division offers these tips on how to stay shopping safe:
- Check the refund and return policies for restrictions and exceptions.
- Are there Re-stocking Fees for returned items?
- When buying gift cards, check for fees and expiration dates that apply.
- Compare Prices.
- Review warranties before purchasing.
Along with those traditional shopping methods consumers also need to proceed with caution when dealing with online retailers.
ONLINE SHOPPING TIPS:
- Always place orders from a secure connection – If your computer isn’t protected from potential malicious software, your financial information and passwords are at risk from being stolen and anything else you store on your computer or do online.
- Avoid offers that seem “to good to be true” – Any e-store that promises too much at too low a price should cause you to pause before going forward
- Don’t use an e-store that requires more information than necessary to make the sale. Expect to provide method of payment, shipping address, telephone number, and email address IF the merchant requests other information walk away from the sale. Never give your bank account or social security information.
- Need to create a password for a site? – make it unique. Most site will allow you to make the purchase as a guest but if you want to create account use a unique and strong password.
- Is the site secure? Look for the “https” NOT “http” the ‘s’ tells you website is secure and encrypted to protect your information.
- Use a Credit Card to make your purchases – Credit cards have standard protections in place should your card information be stolen.
- ALWAYS check the company’s shipping and return policies. Now the time frames you may be up against if you need to return the product.
- If the Terms and Conditions are buried within the site or if they are vague - stop and think before completing the purchase.
SMARTPHONE SHOPPING TIPS:
- Be sure your computer and mobile devices are current with all software updates.
- Be cautious of social media scams. Stick to the sites that you are familiar with and do not click on unfamiliar links.
- Research price comparison apps. There are many malicious mobile apps just ready to be downloaded.
- Do not download apps from unknown sources.
SCAM MESSAGE TIPS:
- Never click or access the link that is provided.
- Always go directly to source and contact them.
Common ways to detect a fake message:
- Misspelling and poor grammar;
- Abnormally long numbers;
- Suspicious link – nothing relevant to the company they say they are from;
- Message is urgent; and,
- Message offers a refund.