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Fraud Expert, Linda Webb, aka The Fraud Dog, says watch out for the Black Friday Fraudster. Fraudsters prey on several things on days like Black Friday: large crowds, exciting deals, and the sense of urgency customers have while shopping. During Black Friday, consumers are in a buyers frenzy and the fraudster wants to CASH-IN. Watch out for the following:

  1. “Bait and Switch” scams occur when people run out of an item that they are selling, so they sell cheaper ones for same price.
  2. Leaving your credit card behind because you are in a hurry to get to next store. Be careful if you sign the back of your credit card, it could be better left unsigned, so that the store clerks can ask for your identification. Be sure if you lose your credit card to report it immediately to your credit card company.
  3. Follow the swipe of your credit card when you are checking out and watch out for credit card readers that are not attached to the cash registers. Always ask questions if you are unsure and talk to store manager if something doesn’t feel right.
  4. Be careful of online scams like “Free I Pads”. Anything “free” is usually a scam.
  5. Check your credit card statements for added purchases that you may not have bought. The fraudster is hoping you won’t catch a little charge or two.
  6. Check your cell phone bills for added “marketing fees” like marketing text fees you were not aware of. Special Black Friday text deals may charge a fee if you “respond now”.
  7. Protect your personal information and passwords in free Wi-Fi areas.
  8. Be careful carrying a large number of shopping bags to your car, as someone else may be watching your shopping spree as well. Be careful of the stranger who tries to stop you on the way to your car. Always look around. Safety is in numbers so go shopping with friends and family.
  9. When buying online, be careful of giving out your personal information. Be sure you have the real store website and not a fake one. Phishing scams are everywhere.
  10. Don’t get caught up in reverse sales when you are selling something online and they send you a check that is over the cost of what you are asking, then ask you to send them the difference. Make sure their check clears the bank first.
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