16 Days of Scams: Michigan AG launches campaign to protect holiday shoppers

Holiday shopping online with a credit card
Photo credit Getty Images

LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has launched a campaign to protect consumers as the holiday shopping season gets into full swing.

Through mid-December, the AG’s website is focusing on educating consumers on a number of tactics that are used to try and cheat them out of money during the holidays.

From smart online shopping to a guide on returning merchandise, the “16 Days of Scams” campaign has all kinds of tips to protect your wallet.

“The holidays fly by every single year,” Nessel said, per a press release. “And while everyone is focused on celebrating their traditions and checking off those gift lists, it’s imperative we all keep in mind ways to protect our personal and bank information from bad actors."

Nessel’s first alert focused on ways to keep your credit and debit cards safe as the season gets underway with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.

Tips include creating a strong password and PIN that are unique to only that specific credit card, as well as keeping the information private and shredding documents like statements before they go in the trash.

Holiday shoppers are encouraged to keep the following in mind if you’re spending money online this season:

-- Research the retailer. You will know the business and their existing inventory if you’re visiting a store, but on the web some businesses are fabricated by people who just want your credit card information or other personal details. Avoid online retailers if you cannot verify their listed physical locations and customer service phone numbers. Then double check any listed information is legitimate by putting them in an online search.

-- Do an online image search of the product and any other images the seller has posted to see where the product is coming from, how much it really costs and who else is selling it. Watch this video to learn how to do that.

-- When making online purchases, pay with a credit card. Credit cards provide protections that allow you to dispute charges if an item is not delivered or is not as advertised.

Nessel is also encouraging those who want to be charitable this holiday season to review the AG Charity Search Database before donating to verify worthy causes.

Shoppers should also take the proper precautions to protect any packages they have shipped to their homes. Earlier this week a "porch pirate" was arrested in Livonia after police received a tip from a Good Samaritan.

Holiday shoppers are also being encouraged to support small, local businesses this season. Retail experts say for every $100 spent at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy.