Officials Warn of Consumer Fraud Ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday

November 23, 2022 Updated 2:23 PM ET

Source: Collier County Sheriff's Facebook
Source: Collier County Sheriff's Facebook

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, officials are warning consumers to be aware of potential fraud from sham charities and to be cautious while shopping online.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said while the holiday season is a time for kind and generous deeds, scam artists may seek to take advantage of this spirit of giving.

Officials urged people to thoroughly research charities before donating and to watch out for similar sounding charities.

It is not unusual for sham charities to choose names that sound like the names of legitimate, well-known charities.

Websites like FDACS.gov/ConsumerServices, Guidestar.org and CharityNavigator.org allow potential donors to review charities to help make sure the donation doesn’t go to a scam organization.

“The busiest shopping season of the year is underway, and scammers may use the occasion to prey on unsuspecting consumers searching for the perfect gift. To help protect Floridians, I am releasing our 2022 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide,” said Moody.

Know the Difference: Tax Exempt and Tax Deductible

An organization that is tax exempt does not have to pay taxes, but this does not necessarily mean that a contribution you have made to it is tax deductible.

To check whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, visit Apps.IRS.gov/App/Eos/.

Avoid Cyber Scams

While shopping online, before you click “place order,”  verify that the website address begins with “https.” The “s” stands for “secure” and means that your information is encrypted before it is transmitted.

It is advised to look for reviews about the company selling the product, and to read the terms before purchasing.

“Online shopping remains a convenient way for consumers to compare products and find bargains this winter shopping season. However, consumers need to be on the lookout for potential fraud to keep their personal and financial data secure,” said Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried.

If you have a problem with an online purchase or charge, first try to resolve the issue directly with the seller. If unable to come to a resolution, file a complaint at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com or call 1-800-HELP-FLA or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (for Spanish speakers).

Click here for more tips while shopping online.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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