CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDVM) — It’s almost time for the shopping season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. An increase in consumer activity usually means there’s more of a chance for scammers and thieves to steal your money and identity. Here are some tips from West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on how to stay safe both in the stores and online.
If you are shopping in stores, Attorney General Morrisey says you should pay using a credit card instead of a debit card.
“The debit cards they’re just like cash so if you have your debit card compromised you’re not getting a penny back…if you use a credit card on the other hand and you have your account compromised usually you can go to the credit card they’ll be some insurance for it,” said Attorney General Morrisey.
It’s also recommended to leave non-essential info at home like your Social Security Card. It can make you an easy target for identity theft, especially in crowded parking lots.
“The parking lots are full and that means that it’s a golden place for thieves to go because they might be able to quickly break into your car. They could steal personal, identifiable information,” Attorney General Morrisey explained.
When shopping online be aware of fake websites and coupon offers.
“Take the time to make sure you’re working with a reputable site and that you’re not providing your personal identifiable information site unseen make sure you verify the site,” Attorney General Morrisey said.
If you think you’ve been scammed you can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division or the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg.