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November 21, 2016

Philly D.A. warns holiday shoppers of scams on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers and consumers alike are gearing up for the shopping season. But the city's top prosecutor issued a warning that scammers are also getting ready to prey on unsuspecting shoppers.

On Monday, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams unveiled a list of tips as he reminded shoppers to "be smart" on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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“The malls and stores will be crowded on Black Friday, which is why it is important to have a designated rendezvous point in case anyone gets lost or separated. Also, many of us will be shopping at home on Cyber Monday, so please remember to be safe and protect yourself,” Williams said.

Here are the 12 things Williams suggests shoppers keep in mind:

• Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on your checks.

• Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.

• Shred your old receipts, credit card offers, account statements and expired cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.

• Make sure the price you see is the price you pay; check your receipts.

• Keep your current receipts in a safe place, record your purchases and track your deliveries.

• Protect your private information when shopping online and make sure you only purchase from reputable retailers. Don’t be tricked into giving out your credit card or financial information for “drawings” or “seasonal promotions.”

• Watch out for scammers posing as charities; a little investigation makes a difference.

• Don’t forget to read the company’s privacy and return policies before you make your purchase.

• Download apps from reputable sources and read user reviews before entering personal and financial information.

• Be vigilant about where you put your purse, wallet, keys and smartphone.

• Lock your car doors, even if you will only be gone for a few minutes. Don’t leave money, phone charging cords, bags and expensive items in clear view.

• Read your bank and credit card statements thoroughly, especially in December and January.

Last year, $8 billion worth of merchandise was sold online between Thanksgiving and Sunday, while a record $3 billion was spent on Cyber Monday alone.

Williams also urged consumers to ask credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert on your credit report.