AG urges Christmas shoppers to remain alert

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HOUSTON – In the busiest shopping time of the year Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood reminds consumers to shop with caution.
“Whether you’re shopping at the mall or online, it is important for consumers to get prepared in order to not only save time and money, but also to avoid scams and identity thieves,” said Attorney General Hood.
Some general tips that apply to holiday shopping are:
• Shop around for the best deal for your needs. Just because an item is on sale, it may not be the best price. Some stores are willing to match, or even beat, a competitors prices.
• Ask about sale adjustments. If you buy an item at regular price and it goes on sale the next week, check in advance to see if you can get a credit or refund for the discounted amount.
• Ask about refund and return policies. Many merchants may have different refund and return policies for sale items.
• Keep an eye on your money – cash or credit. Carry only the cash and credit cards you absolutely need. Don’t flash cash or credit cards for others to see. If your cards are lost or stolen, report the loss or theft immediately to the card issuers, and file a complaint with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.
• Know your surroundings. Be very cautious when going to and from your vehicle, especially at night.
• Regularly update your computer’s security, including anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
• Keep good records. Whether you’re ordering by mail, phone, or online, it is important to keep detailed information about the transaction, including your order number, shipping costs and dates, warranties, and refund and return policies.
• Monitor your credit card transactions. Save your receipts for returns and exchanges.
In all shopping, remember that exceptionally low prices, suspicious packaging, and other signs could indicate a counterfeit.
“If the price is too low, do your homework,” said Hood. “A dangerous or inferior product is never a good enough deal when you are putting your life, or your family’s life at risk. You also open yourself up to identity thieves who sell you the inferior product and then also steal your personal information they obtain from the purchase.”
Call the Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, at 1-800-281-4418 to report suspected fraud or scams this holiday season.

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