AARP warns about holiday shopping scams

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:28 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:26 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Mona’s Shoes and Boutique in Eastdale Mall is prepared for one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

“It’s going to be very noisy, busy, long lines and hopefully a lot of traffic,” said Hamza A, the son of the store owner, who reiterated shoppers’ security is a priority.

“We use systems that don’t keep credit card info,” Hamza said. “Receipts and stuff that have people’s names on them, we throw them away so no one’s identity can be found.”

“There’s a lot of money that gets spent at this time of year,” said AARP Alabama’s Jamie Harding, “and so, unfortunately, you know, criminals know this too.”

Steps like those being taken by Mona’s are important ones retailers can take to protect shoppers, but according to Harding, there are also ways you can watch out for your own wallet.

“First of all, never ever click links in text messages or emails unless you are absolutely sure you know who it’s coming from,” said Harding, who cautions consumers to be alert online, and in-person, especially when buying gift cards.

According to Harding, scammers will copy the information of a gift card off the rack, wait for someone to buy it, activate it, then quickly spend the money.

“We recommend that folks get a card from behind the counter or buy one online,” Harding said. “Sometimes you can send a mobile gift card that someone can get on their phone, but avoid buying off of those racks because they are exposed to scammers.”

Harding says it’s even important to double-check what charity you donate to, “especially if they reach out to you.”

“Investigate those charities if you don’t know them well, or if you’ve never donated to them before, look them up on the Better Business Bureau website.”

Paying attention to where the deals come from along with the deal itself could save consumers a lot more money this holiday season.

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