ORLANDO, Fla. — With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scammers.
On Monday, Moody, along with Osceola County Sheriff Mario Lopez, released the 2021 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide.
During Monday’s news conference, Moody encouraged consumers to take a close look at this year’s guide to help ensure a safe shopping experience.
“We have to stay aggressive and smart on the front end by offering tips to Floridians, and on the back end ensuring that our law enforcement personal are ready to go if Floridians encounter crime,” Moody said.
Moody also reminded consumers that with the current supply chain shortages affecting the shopping season, it is important to be extra-vigilant.
“With national supply chain shortages threatening scarcity of some items, many Floridians are rushing to finish their holiday shopping lists early. But don’t let the rush blind you to scams or deceptive trade practices,” Moody said. “During the hustle and bustle of the season, it is important to watch out for scammers looking to exploit the frenzy to prey on unsuspecting shoppers, especially online.”
Moody added that the guide includes a list of items recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as tips for online and in-person shopping, and how to avoid charity scams.
Here are few suggestions:
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online. Credit cards allow consumers to dispute a charge more easily if an item never arrives or a fraudulent charge occurs.
- Keep receipts and be sure to understand retailers’ return polices and periods, so any unwanted items can be returned for a full refund.
- Before agreeing to a store’s layaway plan, be sure to ask whether the retailer charges a fee for its program, and whether payments and fees are refundable if the purchase is canceled or returned.
- Research before donating to a charity. Be aware of how much the donation will actually go toward charitable programs as opposed to administrative expenses.
- Do not provide credit card or bank account information to someone who calls or emails you unsolicited.
To access the full 2021 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide, scroll below or click here.
To view the guide in Spanish, click here.
For a complete list of all product recalls, you can visit CPSC.gov.
To report fraud or file a complaint, visit MyFloridaLegal.com or call 866-9NO-SCAM (866-966-7226).