Beware [of] suspicious websites and advertisements that offer brand name merchandise at extremely low prices.
The FBI and Federal Trade Commission are teaming up to help shoppers this holiday season.
The FBI shared the FTC's Tips for Happy Holiday Shopping on Twitter, saying in part "Are you searching for great deals this holiday weekend? Beware suspicious websites and advertisements that offer brand name merchandise at extremely low prices."
The FTC gave consumers five tips to keep in mind while shopping:
- Make a list and a budget. The FTC says to curb 'impulse buys' its best to make a plan. Consumers should consider how much they plan on spending and how long it would take to pay off the charge. Layaway is another great tool to use when money is tight.
- Do your research. Be sure to spend time reading reviews and recommendations on the product and the seller. Double-check to make sure products have warranties and check to see if there were any reports of the items not being delivered.
- Look for the best deals. According to the FTC there are plenty of ways to save money if you search out deals. Compare prices for items online and in-store. Remeber about shipping costs when shopping for online orders. Don't forget about rebates and coupons that could help lower the cost of an item.
- Keep track of your purchases. Save all of your receipts! Make sure the scanned price for an item matches up with the advertised price. Online shoppers should keep track of order numbers and pay attention to any return policies. Have your packages delivered to a secure location, or if possible pick them up at a local store. Be careful with gift cards and treat them like cash.
- Give gifts, not personal information. Online shoppers should pay attention to websites and URLs. Check "https" web addresses to make sure the website is secure. Use shopping apps that are specific about what they do with your data and how they keep it secure. Avoid any deals that require you to offer up financial information.