DATCP provides consumer tips for the holidays

Online scams amp up during the holiday shopping season.
Online scams amp up during the holiday shopping season.(KYTV)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:11 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - With the holiday season fast approaching, the Wisconsin DATCP encourages consumers to shop wisely. Black Friday remains one of the most popular occasions for sales and shopping in the United States, but holiday sales have already begun.

Consumers should be mindful of at least some of these guidelines to follow to protect their wallets and their private data while shopping.

Review vendor policies for returns and exchanges and ask customer service if that information is not readily available. Remember that sellers must honor the lowest posted price and politely ask your cashier or customer service rep to fix any errors. Also, take note of safety information on toys and other gifts for children. Make sure those toys have a verification label from UL and ASTM. You can also check for recalled toys at CPSC.gov.

When shopping in-store, know if sale prices apply. There may be ‘door-buster’ sales or other limitations that may not be available, even though you may see signs or advertisements posted. Check for any tampering before purchasing gift cards. Ensure that any protective stickers are intact and PINs are not exposed. Lastly, make sure a QR code is legitimate. They can be tampered with by stickers and even though businesses use them frequently, scammers do too.

If you are shopping online this holiday season, avoid using public Wi-Fi to make your transactions as scammers can be monitoring it for personal payment information. Do not allow untrusted cookies. This is data that is saved to your device for things like product advertising, but if you are allowing cookies on sites that you have never been on, there could be scammers tracking your online activity. Finally, always ensure a website is legitimate before entering any private information. Do not trust a site based solely on appearances, check the web address to ensure that it is not a site merely being mimicked.

For more information or to file a complaint about a website or business, visit ConsumerProtection.wi.gov.