Friday, November 29, 2013

Beware holiday shopping scams

Each year, financial crimes investigators and consumer groups see a spike in scams targeting holiday shoppers looking for extra cash and quick deals.

New York State officials have issued a number of tips to avoid getting ripped off during the holidays. They include:

Educate yourself about the pricing of the products you want, to help insure that the “sale” price was not marked up before it was marked down, nullifying the impact of the sale.

Be aware of added fees, such as hidden delivery charges and/or other added costs.

Compare warranty terms to learn what protections you get and the duration of those protections.

Know the terms of a layaway plan, including all charges and the consequences of missing payments.

Check return and refund policies, including whether the store charges a hefty restocking fee for returned items.

Beware of restricted gift cards.

Use caution when taking advantage of social network promotions and be mindful of the websites you visit to avoid malware and phishing sites.

Christmas is one of the most expensive times of year. Don’t let it cost you more than it has to.