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Protect Yourself from Holiday Scams: Attorney General Goddard´s Holiday Consumer Safety Tips

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Nov. 24, 2010) With “Black Friday,” the first big day of the holiday shopping season coming Friday, Nov. 26, followed by “Cyber Monday” on Monday, Nov. 29, Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that his Office has launched a special holiday web page: www.azag.gov/consumer/holiday.  The page provides answers to common questions about holiday shopping, charitable giving and other consumer problems during the holidays.

“With tight budgets for most Arizona families, it is especially important to be alert for scams and other consumer pitfalls this Holiday Season,” Goddard said. 

The site includes a list of resources for holiday scam prevention, such as tips to prevent identity theft, tools to research charitable donations and how to ensure gifts are safe for those who receive them. Additional shopping tips and alerts will be posted on the site each week throughout the Holiday Season.

Attorney General Terry Goddard’s Top Five Tips for Preventing Holiday Rip-Offs

  1. Bring ads for sales and “special deals” with you to the store: Be sure the advertised or posted price matches the scanned price and check the receipt before leaving the store. 
  2. Understand the new rules for gift cards: New rules state that gift card service fees cannot be charged until the card has been inactive for 12 months and cannot expire until at least five years after the date of purchase. Read the terms and conditions carefully.
  3. Do online shopping at secure websites: Identify secure websites by looking for web addresses that begin with “https,” and display a padlock or an SSL certificate at the bottom of the page. Use a credit card instead of a debt card.
  4. Watch out for restocking fees: Prior to purchase, ask the store if they will charge a restocking fee for the item if it is returned.
  5. Save all receipts, warranties and service agreements: Request warranties and service contracts in writing, and save receipts from all holiday season purchases. 

For more information on these and other holiday shopping tips, visit Attorney General Goddard’s holiday consumer web page: www.azag.gov/consumer/holiday

During or after the holiday season, 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. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General’s Office has satellite offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help. Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General’s Web site, www.azag.gov.