SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Shoppers look at Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday as opportunities to get their hands on great items at an affordable price. But some criminals see these shopping experiences as the perfect chance for scams.
"People try to take advantage of any little hole they can get in and try to take advantage of consumers, taking their money from them," said Veronica Mosby of Oak Park.
Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel is launching a holiday consumer protection campaign with tips on her office's website to help protect Michigan consumers as they shop in person or online this holiday season.
One key tip for online shopping - is not using public wi-fi, Nessel said.
Consumers should also know who they are buying from
"Just by doing a search and looking at reviews of the product and looking at reviews of the store, it’s really going to assist you," Nessel said.
There are also some retailers you should never do business with, she added.
"Avoid online retailers who you cannot verify their listing of a physical location, or customer service phone number," said Nessel.
And when it’s time to purchase merchandise during online shopping, use your credit card for payment instead of debit - and never use an email or text to send your personal financial information.
"Credit cards provide protection that allow you to dispute charges," she said.
For those who are considering charitable giving, contact the attorney general's office to inquire about a charity before you give.
"The other thing we want to make sure of, is that people are able to give to the charities of their choice - but to make sure that money is really going to the place they think it’s going in," she said.
If you encounter a scam or believe you are the victim of fraud, the Michigan Attorney General's Office can help by filing a complaint online, by fax or US mail, to the consumer protection team.
"There’s something in the neighborhood of $45 billion in retail fraud every year at big box stores," Nessel said. "We have a request into the legislature as we speak, to open a business protection unit."
For more details on how AG Nessel is working to prevent retail fraud… or how consumers can protect themselves and file a complaint go to:
Links to the relevant consumer alerts: