Municipal Government

Spend Wisely and Be Safe Over the Holidays

December 1, 2015
By Stephanie West 

New York, NY – Holiday shopping is fun but danger is nearby and fraudulent businesses are everywhere . Deals are sometimes too good to be true . Many phony sites are setups for schemers to make a quick buck. Spend money wisely and be cautious when using a credit card. When traveling be aware of surroundings.

Tips for successful Christmas Shopping: Beware of misleading bargains and added fees: The “sale” price may have been marked up before it was marked down. Sometimes the 'holiday sale price' is higher than the cost for that same item before or after the holiday season.Compare warranty terms and watch out for hidden costs. Not all warranties are the same.Know the terms of a layaway plan. The law requires merchants to give a detailed description of the merchandise to be purchased on layaway plans, the total cost of the items, including all charges, the duration of the plan, the required payment schedule, the consequences of missing payments, the refund policy and the location.

Be especially vigilant of “final sales” or “cash-only – final sale” notices, as you will have little or no recourse if the merchandise proves to be defective. Also protect yourself by using credit cards Be sure to read the terms and conditions of gift cards before purchasing. It is illegal to deduct any fees for non-use within one year of purchase or to have an expiration date of less than five years from issuance. Shop only on secure Internet connections: Do not conduct any transaction that involves personal, financial or credit card information while using an open and unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Do not be tricked by confusingly similar website and domain names: Pay particular attention to your retailer’s URL when shopping online. Scammers use variants of a known company’s Internet address to try and lure users into visiting fake websites. They often target users through email or social media.  Avoid clicking on links from email or social media sites.

 Watch out for websites with URLs that differ slightly from those of legitimate online retailers, and also links that appear genuine but direct your browser to a completely different URL. To ensure safe shopping online type the URL of your desired retailer directly into your web browser — and watch for typos. 

December 1, 2015

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