Financial advisor discusses how to avoid holiday shopping scams

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Between Black Friday and Christmas shopping, Americans are expected to spend a staggering $189 billion during this year’s holiday season.

With all that money changing hands, criminals will be targeting both shoppers and retailers. In order to look out for scammers and how to keep yourself from being scammed, John O’Hara, with Better Business Bureau, provided some helpful tips.

“Well, the biggest thing you have to worry about now is that when you’re shopping online, there are a lot of fake websites that are pretending to sell items that are at a deep discount. A lot of people weren’t shopping online last year are now shopping online due to what’s going on this year,” explained O’Hara.

O’Hara advised all shoppers to be more aware when browsing online and making purchases.

“Be vigilant when checking out these websites. When you’re looking at a particular item, and it’s showing it out of a ridiculously low price, you need to really be careful the way you shop.”

A new method of credit card scamming has also gone digital, which can be just as dangerous or even more.

“If you’re doing any shopping online, you need to use a credit card over a debit card. The reason for that is with a credit card, there’s protection that money isn’t coming out of your account, and you can contest that you never did get those items, and the credit card company can possibly get that money back from the merchant,” said O’Hara.

He also urged people to be careful using digital wallet apps and placing prepaid cards and debit card information within them.

To determine if a website is secured, an address or a customer service support contact, are some of the few, yet most important signs of legitimacy.

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