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Biden Offers Consumer Protection Tips Ahead of the Start of Holiday Shopping Season

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Categories:  Consumer Protection Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

DOVER – Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden advised Delaware consumers to take several steps to protect themselves during this year’s holiday shopping season that starts this week.

 

“This is a special time of year, but unfortunately, it is also the time of year when consumer s need to be especially vigilant,” Biden said. “Consumers who believe they have been victimized by fraud should contact my office’s Consumer Protection Unit immediately.”

 

This holiday season, according to ComScore, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $61 billion online, a significant increase from 2013.

 

Biden recommends the following tips for consumers purchasing holiday gifts online:

  • ​Purchase only from reputable retailers that you are familiar with. Make sure you have the retailer’s physical address and phone number in case you have problems with the purchase.
  • Do not send sensitive personal or financial information through e-mail. Legitimate companies will not ask you to send personal identifying information via e-mail, because it is not a secure way to transfer such information.
  • Place your order only when you know the site is secure. If a site is secure, the web address will begin with “https” rather than “http,” and a locked padlock icon will be visible at the bottom right of your computer’s screen. Be aware, however, that some con artists have learned to forge these security indicators.
  • Avoid making purchases over public, non-secure networks such as those at coffee shops or libraries.
  •  Protect your computers with anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
  • Use unusual passwords when you register with a website to make online purchases. Try to include special characters, numbers, and make your password case-sensitive.
  • Pay with a credit card, which provides consumers with protections not afforded by debit cards and other payment options.
  • Read the fine print and the product description very closely to ensure that you understand exactly what you are purchasing. Be aware that some retailers that offer free shipping charge fees for returned merchandise.
  • Keep a record of all transactions. Print records of all your online orders, including the confirmation page, which will include information about your order, payment, and shipping, and any e-mails to and from retailers.
  • When the shopping is done, consumers should check their credit card and bank statements often to identify any unauthorized charges.

Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit can be reached by calling 800-220-5424 or sending an email to consumer.protection@state.de.us.

 

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