Holiday consumer protection campaign launched

As families prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and other traditions to welcome in the holidays, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is launching a holiday consumer protection campaign focused first on ways to protect your information if you’ll be hitting stores in person or online over the weekend.

Continuing through mid-December, the attorney general’s website will focus on educating consumers on the numerous tactics used to cheat them out of their funds during the holidays. The direct URL is mi.gov/AGholidayscams.

“The holidays fly by every single year,” Nessel said. “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.”

To kick off the campaign, Nessel is sharing important information surrounding the biggest shopping and philanthropic days of the year – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday – with the reissuance of three consumer alerts focused on protecting your information.

Nessel’s first alert focuses on ways to keep credit card accounts safe from those who would like to get their hands on personal information and money. 

Those tips include creating a strong password and PIN that is 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.

Nessel is also reissuing of her online shopping and wise charitable giving consumer alerts.

Residents should keep the following in mind if spending money online:

• 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.

• 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.

When donating this holiday season, consider reviewing the AG Charity Search Database (www.ag.state.mi.us/CharitableTrust/frmDisclaimer.aspx) to verify worthy causes. Nessel’s Wise Charitable Giving Consumer Alert also provides insight on certain questions you should be able to get answered when giving to an organization or case.

Those looking to shop local are encouraged to check out the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Support Local campaign at www.michigan.org/supportlocal which provides resources online to help residents shop and eat local.

Residents can follow the attorney general’s official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages along with subscribing to the department’s consumer alerts to receive the most up-to-date consumer news, as well as an updated dangerous toy guide, and the holiday newsletter.

Consumer complaints can be filed online at the attorney general’s website at www.michigan.gov/ag, or by calling 877-765-8388.

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