3 ways to avoid scams this holiday season


This week, the Office of the Attorney General’s “Consumer Caution Corner” sets out three “rules of thumb” that, if practiced, will better protect you and your loved ones this holiday season from Grinches that seek to scam people during this generous time of year:

1) Know how NOT to pay.

Is someone asking you to pay with an iTunes or Amazon gift card? Or telling you to wire money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram? Don’t do it. Scammers ask you to pay in ways that let them get the money fast — and make it nearly impossible for you to get it back. If you’re doing any holiday shopping online, know that credit cards have a lot of fraud protection built in.

2) Spot imposters.

Imposters pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send money or personal information. They might say you qualified for a free government grant, but you have to pay a fee to get it. Or they might send phishing emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to “verify” your credit card or checking account number. Don’t buy it.

3) Make sure your money goes to real charities.

The holidays are an important time to share with people in need. Unfortunately, sometimes charity scammers try to take advantage of your good will. Always check out a charity before you give.

Each week, the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Education Program (a.k.a. “The Consumer Caution Corner”) aims to provide consumers and businesses with the “know-how” tools to identify and protect themselves from unfair trade practices and marketplace schemes.

Consumer protection complaint forms can be picked up at the Office of the Attorney General located on Capital Hill.

Michael J. Cyganek is consumer counsel at the Office of the Attorney General. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a consumer or your obligations as a business under the CNMI Consumer Protection Act, please contact the consumer counsel by email at

MICHAEL J. CYGANEK, Office of the Attorney General

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