Oregon Attorney General Offers 5 Tips for Shopping Smart and Gifting This Holiday Season

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – It’s the holiday season, one of the busiest and hopefully most enjoyable times of the year! This is also the time to be especially careful with your money, as crooks are busy too, and the ongoing pandemic may give them additional opportunities to do their dirty work.

With that in mind, here are some tips from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on how to safely and enjoyably navigate events like Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

“Your money is hard earned,” Attorney General Rosenblum said. “You want to put it to good use – and not get caught up in others. I suggest shopping early, shop local, and only donate to charities registered with my agency, the Oregon Department of Justice. Even then, only spend or donate your money to businesses and organizations that you know and trust. This year, we have the added stress of shipping delays and out-of-stock items, which gives crooks extra ways to take advantage of you, especially by making you believe they can get this package here sooner. or you get that “out of stock”. or an “out of print” gift item.

Five tips for smart shopping and gifting this holiday season:

Tip 1: Avoid buying items that will never arrive.

There are all kinds of sophisticated ways to make you think you are buying “the perfect gift”. Scammers can figure out how to interrupt your searches with bogus offers and seemingly great prices. You go to the site, put the item in your cart, and click the “buy” button. BUT: you don’t get a tracking number; the package never arrives; and the seller goes away with your money.

When this happens, you are the victim of a ‘nondelivery scam’. To avoid falling victim this way, stick with reputable retailers. Try to avoid merchants you don’t know. If you are shopping from a new merchant, verify that the merchant has a physical address, a customer service phone number, and a professional looking site.

Warning signs of crooks include poor spelling, weird design, and slow loading. PLEASE NOTE: Only buy from sites that are secure with (a) SSL encryption ”and (b) a padlock symbol at the beginning of the site URL. Secure sites will have https in their URL – rather than http. Paying attention to this difference can save you a lot of trouble.

Tip 2: Beware of messages about an item you have never ordered.

In this scam, you receive an email or other message telling you that there is a problem with an item you ordered. But you don’t recognize the item and know you never ordered it. The message could be a phishing email intended to trick you into clicking a suspicious link, providing your bank credentials, or providing other private information. If you’re unsure if a message is legitimate, contact the business directly through their website, chat, or customer service phone number. Do not reply to the message until you have verified that it is legitimate.

Tip 3: When making year-end donations: Do your research and donate only to registered charities.

There are over 22,000 registered charities in Oregon. The Charitable Activities Section of the Oregon Department of Justice is responsible for overseeing and regulating all charitable organizations in Oregon. So before giving, check the Oregon Department of Justice Charitable Database to learn more about specific charities and to make sure they are registered with the state. You can also use this site to file an online complaint about a charity or to obtain copies of its financial records.

Tip 4: Beware if the solicitations for donations seem aggressive.

Resist urgent appeals for donations. To keep the best control over your donations and expenses, it is best for you to initiate contact with a charity or an online store, and not the other way around. No legitimate organization will insist that you donate immediately

Tip 5: Think twice about crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.

All gifts are not tax deductible. Only donations to charities that have IRS 501 (c) (3) status are tax deductible. Gifts to individuals through GoFundMe and similar platforms are not tax deductible. In addition, they may not be refundable. If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, check the IRS ‘website to make sure your donation is made to a qualified organization. Make sure the charity provides written confirmation or an email receipt of your donation. Then keep this for your records.

For additional tips on giving, please see the DOJ Wise Giving Guide. If you have any questions or concerns about a charity or a solicitation, please file a complaint online or call the Charitable Activities Section at 971-673-1880. Email: [email protected]

From all of us at the Oregon Department of Justice: Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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