LANSING, Mich. — The holiday season is upon us and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office is sharing a wealth of tips to ensure Michigan residents protect their wallets this season.
Ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, Nessel's office is sharing warnings and information about a number of different scams and tips on how to stay safe:
- Drop-shipping – Steps to take to ensure you’re ordering directly from the source instead of helping unnecessary middlemen make a profit.
- Online Shopping – Tips to protect your personal information while making purchases online.
- Giving Wisely to Charity – Ways to ensure your donations are going where they’re intended.
- In-Store-Only Rebates – Tips to ensure Michigan consumers understand the rebate realities of retailers and how they may not actually yield savings.
- Gifting Circles vs. Gifting Schemes – A resource to ensure you know the difference between gifting circles that ensure money isn’t exchanged and illegal gifting schemes.
“As many of us prepare to spend our hard-earned money on our loved ones or donate to charities, my office wants to ensure Michiganders are equipped with the necessary tools to make certain they’re not robbed of their generosity,” said Nessel.
Those who plan on venturing out to shop in-person or even shopping online should keep the following tips at top of mind:
Avoid the crowds: Many retailers make their Black Friday deals available earlier in the week. Avoid the crowded stores by shopping early.
Shop local: Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to shop small, support your community and avoid the chaos of big box stores.
Do your research: Compare prices for both in-store and online items. Read reviews from reputable sources not only on the product, but also the retailer. Verify the legitimacy of all charities.
Give gifts, not personal information: Only shop on secure websites with an “https” address. Stick to shopping apps that tell you what they do with your data and how they keep it secure. Avoid holiday offers that ask you to give financial information – no matter how tempting. They might be trying to steal your identity.
Be sure the scanned price is right: Never assume a sale price is accurate, especially if you see a price tag with a higher price crossed out or a “compare to” price noted.
Search for coupons or discounts: Check your local newspapers and online for coupons or discount codes to increase your savings.
Sign up for alerts from your bank and credit card companies: Ensure no unauthorized charges are made by also monitoring all statements.
If possible, make purchases with your credit card: Credit cards offer more protection and limit your liability if stolen or unauthorized charges are made.
Ensure all purchases are accounted for: Keep all receipts, warranties and order confirmations handy.
Return policies: Know the retailer’s return policy and terms of layaway or no-interest plans.
Purchasing gift cards safely: Only buy gift cards that are kept behind the store’s customer service counter or activated when you check out.
The AG's consumer education team has put together a series of alerts called the 15 Days of Scams. It starts Dec. 2 and continues through Dec. 20 on a special section on the AG’s homepage. The goal is to inform Michiganders about all the scams and tactics used to cheat them out of their funds.
This holiday season, consumers are encouraged to contact the Consumer Protection Division to file a complaint online or via phone by calling 877-765-8388.
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