Tennessee urges shoppers to avoid holiday season scams

Target shoppers Kelly Foley, left, Debbie Winslow, center, and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in South Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

NASHVILLE (WATE) – The hustle and bustle of the holiday season also brings out scammers, so the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs wants to remind people that basic precautions can ward off identity thieves.

The TDCI says to avoid carrying Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, bank information or paychecks when shopping. Check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often.

When paying by credit card, don’t allow clerks to put your receipts in the bag. Carry them in your wallet where it is safer. When paying by check, never allow a merchant to write your Social Security number on the check. Use a black gel ink to write checks, which penetrates the fibers and makes it difficult for a check to be cleaned and reused.

When shopping online, be careful of wireless internet connections. Only use ones with a security key or certificate. Shop on secure, reputable sites only – ones with “https://” at the beginning of the URL.

Never offer personal information like your mother’s maiden name or Social Security number.

Read customer reviews before ordering. Use a credit card instead of a debit card to protect your personal funds and keep thieves from gaining access to your bank account.

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