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California AG Issues Safety Tips For Consumers For Shopping During The Holidays

The California Attorney General (AG) issued these safety tips for consumers to securely shop online:

"1. Shop on secure websites. One clue about which websites are safe and which are not is to look for a yellow padlock in the browser bar or ‘https’ in the web address (the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’).

2. Don’t make purchases over a free Wi-Fi hotspot like at a coffee shop, which can be scanned by those looking to capture your passwords and other information.

3. Never send personal or financial information through e-mail. Legitimate companies will not ask you to do so because it is not a secure way to transfer sensitive information.

4. If you are receiving text messages on your cell phone saying you have won a prize or gift card, do not click on the link in the message – it is most likely a scam and may install a virus on your phone.

5. To get the full value of a gift card, use it right away. Gift cards that are lost or stolen are not always replaceable. Retailer or restaurant gift cards do not have expiration dates, but bank cards, like Visa or MasterCard gift cards, or cards issued by a mall that can be used at different stores, may sometimes have expiration dates.

6. Know the return policies of the retailers you shop with before you leave the store or conclude an online transaction. Many retailers will give you a refund if you have a receipt and your return is prompt, but some may only give store credit. Ask a clerk if the policy is not posted at the register."

This list is good advice year-round, not just during the holidays. To this list, I would add:

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