Representing Wisconsin State Assembly District 93
Wisconsin’s holiday season is already in full swing as we look towards purchasing holiday presents for our loved ones. This year, online holiday shopping is forecasted to increase by 10% from last year and hit nearly $207 billion in revenue from Nov 1 to Dec. 31, according to Adobe analytics. Unfortunately, with so many people shopping online, some people try to take this opportunity to scam people for their money.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has provided some important tips to increase public awareness of potential scams and protect consumers’ online purchases.
The first and most important thing you can do is protect yourself from cybersecurity breaches that might compromise your identity. To protect yourself, you should consider placing an alert or alternatively, placing a freeze on your credit report. An alert tells credit agencies to verify the identity of someone opening credit under your name and a freeze prevents the access of your information without your express authorization. If you choose to freeze your credit report, you need to notify each of the three credit reporting agencies, which is free of charge and can be done online.
Second, use caution when responding to emails or phone calls that you did not solicit. Scammers may also try to use social media to offer free product giveaways to get your information. Another popular scam is someone pretending to be from a shipping carrier saying your package was lost and they need your personal information to track the package. To avoid being scammed, always contact the company back directly using a verified number or website.
In addition, here are some other tips from DATCP:
•Check that you are using a secure website (“https” rather than “http”) before entering your password or any personal or banking information.
•Pay by credit card. Federal law gives you the right to dispute charges if you report them to the credit card company within 60 days of receiving your statement.
•Be aware of online auction sites selling discounted or bulk gift cards. The cards may have been tampered with, used, or expired.
•Verify websites before ordering. A quick internet search can help verify the company’s information and find any warnings about its credibility.
If you suspect that you may be the victim of a scam, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/ or call 800-422-7128 to file a consumer complaint with DATCP or to receive additional help. And on behalf of my staff and myself, we hope you have a wonderful, safe, and secure holiday season!
State Rep. Warren Petryk