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AG Brnovich issues holiday shopping tips

"Every holiday season, thieves prey on good, hard-working families," Brnovich said. "Learning how to protect yourself against these scam artists will help avoid extra stress during the holidays."

Brnovich offered the following consumer tips:

  • Before making a purchase, ask what the return policy is as return policies vary from store to store and website to website. Also ask if the store charges a restocking fee, and if so, how much. Some stores will charge a restocking fee for "restocking" an item that you return for a refund or credit.
  • When checking out, watch the display to be sure prices match the posted price and check your receipt for accuracy before you leave the store or website.
  • Buy from businesses you know or trust. If possible, pay by credit card so your transaction is protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which allows you to dispute charges you did not authorize.
  • Keep your sales receipts.
  • Check your credit card and bank statements often and look for unauthorized charges. By the time you receive your credit card bill or bank statement in January, a thief may have already made unauthorized charges. You can also set up account alerts with your bank and credit card company.

For online holiday shopping:

  • Make sure your computer has updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software, updated spam filters, and a secure firewall.
  • Use secure websites. A secure website has an address that begins with "https" (the "s" stands for secure) and make sure there is a small padlock or unbroken key icon at the top or bottom of your browser before entering your credit card number.
  • Read the website's privacy policy to understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If there isn't a privacy policy posted, the retailer may sell your personal information to others without your permission.
  • Don't pay by debit card or money transfers use credit cards instead.
  • Beware of phishing attempts. Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order to lure consumers into revealing financial information. If you do receive such an e-mail, call the business directly. Be especially cautious of e-mails that ask you to click on a link or open an attachment. Don't reply to the e-mail or provide personal identifying information such as your credit card number, unless you're confident the e-mail is genuine.

If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1 (800) 352-8431. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General's website at

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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