FTC Wish: Tweet Consumer Tips for Holiday Shoppers

TwitterThe Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer watchdog, would like Twitter and other social media users to help alert Christmas shoppers of credit scams and provide tips to protect cash, gift cards and private information.
The FTC today made the “12 tweets of Christmas” available on its website. 
“If you tweet or update your status on a social networking page, the FTC hopes you’ll post one of these short messages about keeping the grinch away from your celebrations,” the agency said.
Ironically, part of the FTC’s growing vigilance includes practices it deems deceptive on blogs and social media sites. 
The suggested FTC tweets are about protecting your identity; misleading pitches involving gift cards and credit cards; and being well-informed about merchant return and refund policies during the holidays.
Much of it is common sense, but shoppers in the heat of the holiday rush may need reminders.
“Ho Ho NO? Sites promising easy credit – no matter what – are tempting for a shopping spree, but chances are they’re scams. Visit ftc.gov,” reads one of the tweets.  The agency urges the placement of its short  FTC website address at the end of each tweet.
Here are the 11 other suggested tweets from the FTC:

  • Plan and pay. With layaway, you get the goods after paying in full. But what if you miss a payment or want your money back?
  • Save every receipt. Keep copies of the refund & return policies, your order number, shipping costs & warranties.
  • Many happy returns? Maybe not. Merchants have different refund & return policies for sales & clearance items.
  • All in the cards. Gift cards sold on online auction sites may be fake. Before you buy, get the expiration dates & fees.
  • Treat a gift card like cash. If it’s lost or stolen, you may be out the whole amount. Report it to the issuer right away.
  • Don’t get scrooged by emails seeking personal information. Don’t reply, click the link, or paste it into a browser.
  • Tis the season to be wary – of a charity that won’t provide information in writing: mission, costs & where the money goes.
  • Wire beware. Despite the story, if a seller insists you wire money, you probably won’t get the item or your money back.
  • Jingle sells. Don’t take a check for more than your selling price; don’t wire back the extra. It’s a scam.
  • Make a list and check it twice. If it costs money – gifts, cards, wrapping paper, parking or snacks – add it to your budget.
  • No go on the BOGO? Is “Buy One, Get One Free” really a bargain? If you don’t want or need the extra item, it’s not a deal.

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