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Knudsen Offers Tips To Avoid Holiday Scams

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is reminding Montanans to be aware of common scams, which tend to increase during the holiday season, as they begin Christmas shopping.

“Scammers are out this Christmas looking to take advantage of unsuspecting Montanans, so be on high alert and be cautious as you buy gifts and make donations this year,” Knudsen said. “Don’t let a scammer ruin the holidays for you and your family.”

Knudsen shared the following tips and reminders to avoid falling victim to a scam while shopping this holiday season: When purchasing gift cards, check the terms and keep the receipts. Remember, Montana law stipulates that gift cards and gift certificates do not expire unless the business is sold. Gift cards can also be redeemed for cash if they were originally for more the $5 but have less than $5 remaining.

When making a purchase through social media: verify the company, ensure the website is secure before paying, check the account’s public information, and be cautious when clicking links.

Use a credit card for online shopping so you can track your purchases and dispute any charges you didn’t make or don’t recognize with the credit card company. Do not use gift cards to make a payment. Anyone who asks you to pay using a gift card is most likely a scammer.

If you’re asked to donate to a charity, give wisely. Ask questions and donate only when you’re satisfied that your money will be used in ways you consider appropriate. Be wary of callers who use high pressure tactics or those who promise you sweepstakes winnings in exchange for your contribution.

“Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Knudsen said.

Montanans can report any phone, email, or mail scams to the Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection at https://app.doj.mt.gov/OCPPortal/? q=node/396, [email protected], or (406) 444-4500 or toll free at (800) 481-6896.

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