Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't Get Hosed for the Holidays

Posted By on November 21, 2011, 2:52 PM

The Utah Division of Consumer Protection is issuing its annual warning to holiday shoppers to not be so blinded by bargains as to fall for some common scams employed by online shysters.---

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer plans to spend 36% of holiday shopping online, a 33% increase over 2010 retail forecasts. With so much shopping taking place in the cyber-marketplace, it’s hard for consumers to know which retailers they can trust. And according to a press release issued today by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, Internet fraud continues to be the number-one compliant received by the division.

This year, the division asks consumers hunting for bargains to not fall for scammers' traps this year by following some basic safety tips:

• Research the seller: Setting up a Website to hawk goods is no difficult task, so make sure to call an online retailer and confirm the address just in case any issues arise in your transaction.

• Use Secure sites online: Don’t e-mail credit card or bank information. Check for signs that a site is secure when making an online purchase. A few good indicators are if there is a lock icon on the browser status bar or if there is the letter “s” following “http” on the page’s URL

• Be Smart with Your Smart phone: Smart phones may give consumers the ability to easily shop by thumb, but consumers should be sure to shop from trusted sites and to not download any apps from questionable sources, otherwise hackers could access personal information from your phone.

• Review the Refund Policy: Check to see if you can return a product for a full refund. Are there hidden fees? Is there a different rate to pay for a return delivery or an item re-stocking fee?

• Don’t Ever Send a Wire or Cash Payment: Wire transfers for shopping is a big red flag. Stick to using a credit or charge card when it comes to online purchases.

For more info on how to shop online without getting taken by cyber-shysters this year, visit the Utah Department of Consumer Protection’s Website here.

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