Mississippians will be heading to stores or logging on to computers this holiday weekend to take part in one of the biggest shopping events of the year. But criminals are also gearing up for the holiday season.
Last year, Americans spent more than 600-billion-dollars during the Holiday Season. With so much money up for grabs, consumers are being warned to protect themselves from potential scammers. John O'Hara is with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi. He says there are some pretty common things to look out for.
"If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is so you might want to investigate that company a little bit more," says O'Hara. "Be careful when you're going out for sales. There are a lot of stores that may run what's called a loss leader item; an item they don't really have. It gets you in the store and then they try to use a bait and switch tactic to get you to buy other items."
Shopping is not the only place consumers need to pay extra attention. Scammers have also been known to use fake charities as a way to part well-meaning benefactors from their money. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says there are ways to know if you are donating to a reputable charity.
"The Better Business Bureau says that at least 65 percent of the money they collect should go for the charitable purpose," Hosemann says. "If you look on our website and they're spending 80 or 90 percent on management; you may want to reconsider your contribution."
If Mississippians feel like they have been the victim of a scam they are encouraged to report it to the Attorney General's Office.