Beware: The Holidays Can Be Time for ScamsBy Daniel Cherry | Published 20 Dec 2011 05:48pm |
As friends and family celebrate the holidays, others are looking to take advantage of people during the season of good-will. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how consumer protection advocates are warning Mississippians to watch out for scams through the holiday season.
Most see the holidays as a time for food, fun and family, others see opportunity. Scammers have a number of tricks around the holidays meant to take in unsuspecting shoppers. The internet is a hotbed for crooks, and Laura Meeks of Jackson says she's extremely wary of buying anything online.
"It looks like they've got everything straight and it looks professional, but there are some very talented people out there who know how to work it and know how to scam people. You just have to double, triple, quadruple check those kind of things."
That's why Meeks says she does all her Christmas shopping with people and businesses she knows. Consumer protection advocates like Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood say shopping in person is a good way to cut down on potential for scams but Hood says be sure to look out for knock offs and counterfeits.
"If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. You have to really watch out. Go with your gut. If you feel like something is too cheap, it's probably a scam or its a counterfeit product. We encourage people to go buy from a local business."
Many organizations this time of year will bill themselves as a charity, but in reality, the money doesn't make it to the intended cause. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says a good way to be sure where your donations are going is to check out the charity on the Secretary of State's website.
"I don't want to dampen at all our giving ability here. We have a lot of great organizations that do well with the money. If you look on our website and you see some charity that's spending 10-15% on management and 80-85% going to a charitable purpose, you know they're working hard."
Hosemann says the best bet is to give to well known and established charities.
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