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Retailers aren’t the only ones hoping to capitalize on the upcoming long weekend shopping sprees, scammers are waiting to take advantage of consumers enjoying Labor Day discounts.  While some shoppers will hit the mall, most will access the internet in search of sales or to coordinate a quick in-store item pickup.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2020 consumers reported losing over $3 billion to fraud, with almost $250 million lost to online shopping scams.

Whether you’re finishing back to school shopping or celebrating the unofficial end of summer, it’s important to avoid getting swept up in the excitement of Labor Day deals. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some promotions may give you an inflated number as the original price with a large Labor Day discount, ultimately adding up to the original price. To keep from over-spending, set a budget and stick to it when making decisions about what to buy.

Here are a few tips from the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to help protect your identity, and your wallet as you click through this weekend’s bargains:

  • Use a credit card, or other reputable payment option. Paying for purchases with a credit card allows you to dispute charges if a problem occurs. The best practice is to use a third-party payment application such as Apple Pay or PayPal. Be cautious, avoid storing personal information online with vendors, and whenever possible check out as a guest.
  • Check out the merchant’s history and read customer reviews. Customer ratings can tell you about both the product and business. Reviews often prompt users to rate shipping, item description accuracy, quality, and price—all very important aspects of online shopping. But beware of fraudulent reviews left by scammers, businesses, or disgruntled ex-employees. Websites like Fakespot and ReviewMeta can help you filter reliable reviews.
  • Confirm the website that you are shopping with is secure. The quickest way to check for a secure site is to look for “s” at the end of “https” in the URL. This means there is encryption on the page to better protect your data. For example, when visiting online retailers, such as Amazon, the URL at the top of the page reads “https://www.amazon.com.”

For more information on shopping in the Commonwealth visit our #MAConsumer Guide to Shopping Rights.

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