Better to be safe than sorry!
Laura Tucker, Senior Deputy of the Nevada Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection is giving financial safety tips during the holidays.
For in-store smarts shopping suggestions:
— Whenever possible, conduct research prior to buying your item to familiarize yourself with the product and best available pricing.
— Read all promotional advertisements carefully, including any fine print. To ensure you are given the same promotion in-store, bring a copy of the retailer’s advertisement with you.
— Some retailers may offer layaway plans or other payment plans so you can pay for that must-have holiday gift over time or at a later time. Before you agree to such a plan in-person or online, be sure to ask whether the retailer charges fees to use its payment programs and whether the payments and fees are refundable if a purchase is canceled or must be returned.
— During the transaction, monitor the cash register to ensure you are being charged the correct price and that your coupons are being applied.
— When purchasing a warranty or extended warranty in-store or online, be sure you understand the terms, including what is and is not covered.
— Carefully review the terms and fine print before purchasing a gift card. Some merchants may charge a gift card purchase fee and/or an inactivity fee.
— While shopping, try to limit the number of credit cards in your wallet to only those you intend to use.
Smart shopping suggestions for online users:
— When ordering gifts online, be sure your browser has a secure connection. Look for signs that the website is secure, such as the “https” in the address bar or the padlock symbol.
— Use a credit card instead of a debit card to shop online whenever possible. Both payment methods allow you to dispute a charge if the merchandise never arrives or is different from what was ordered. However, with a debit card, the price will have already been deducted from your bank account.
— When shopping online, there are often additional costs such as shipping and handling fees. Be sure to include additional charges when comparing prices across multiple websites.
— Keep your receipts and be sure you understand the retailer’s return and refund policies so you can return any unwanted items in a timely manner and get a full refund. A retailer’s online policies may differ from in-store policies. Certain retailers may charge a percentage of the price of the item for “restocking” an item that is returned. These fees most often apply to larger purchases such as furniture, electronic equipment or appliances.
— Thoroughly review all financial statements for any unusual activity. Immediately contact the company if an item looks suspicious.
— Be wary of anyone calling to “confirm” personal or financial information. Often, these are criminals trying to obtain those facts under the guise of “confirmation.”