Shoppers can take several easy steps to ensure they stay safe and have a happy holiday season.

Updated 5 years ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey  urged shoppers to be cautious this holiday season against scammers and thieves.

“This is the busiest time of year at independent stores, malls and for online retailers, and for many people, going out shopping in the early morning hours of Black Friday is an enjoyable family tradition,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “But in the midst of finding the perfect gift at a great price for a loved one, consumers should also remember to think ‘Safety First.’  Just as stores and online sites will be very busy on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season, people with bad intentions will be busy too.”
Morrisey offered 10 simple tips to help holiday shoppers keep themselves, their recent purchases and their identities safe. 
  1. Shop with other people and make sure everyone is watching out for one another. Devise a plan for when and how you will find each other if you get separated.
  2. Avoid pickpockets by keeping your purse and/or wallet close to you at all times. Do not leave your purse in the shopping cart or open on your shoulder; carry your wallet in your front pocket or tuck it in a pocket inside your jacket.
  3. Do not remove credit cards, checkbooks or cash from your purse or wallet until it is time to make your actual purchase.
  4. Do not purchase more than you can carry by yourself. Stores will be busy and they may not have the personnel available to help you with large purchases.
  5. If you make purchases, make sure they are hidden securely inside your vehicle, and make sure the vehicle is always locked. This deters people from breaking into your car. If you can, take gifts home between shopping excursions.
  6. When you leave a store, have your car keys in your hands. When approaching your car, make sure you check around it, under it and in it before loading packages or getting in.
  7. Consider using one-time or multi-use credit cards, especially if shopping online.
  8. Shop online with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are unfamiliar with the business, including reading reviews of the seller posted by past customers.
  9. Keep all of your receipts and store them in a file folder at home. This makes it easier to return a gift if the size isn't right or it doesn’t work. Keeping receipts also helps you remember what purchases you made when reviewing credit card statements.
  10. Have fun, but remember if a price is too good to be true, it likely is.
 “Many great values may be found at stores later this week and throughout the holidays, but consumers need to be on guard against scams and thieves,” Morrisey said. “The majority of people you encounter during the holidays will be just like you—looking for the perfect gift for someone they love. But people looking to take your money or steal your gifts will be busy too. My hope is everyone can have a blessed, peaceful and stress-free holiday season.”
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