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Safe holiday shopping

As the holiday season gets under way, shoppers are encouraged to review the annual Safe Shopping Guide released by the Illinois Attorney General’s office for information about dangerous toys and children’s products that have been recalled throughout the year.

This year’s recalled products include toys, motorized/electric ride-on toys and scooters, clothing, strollers and other baby gear, as well as furniture and household items. The guide also details the reason for the recall and what action should be taken if you find a recalled product in your home.

Call the Attorney General’s Product Recall Hotline at 1-888-414-7678 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013) for more information.

The FBI is also warning consumers to be aware of cyber criminals seeking to steal their money and their personal information. Shoppers should be on the look-out for online shopping scams—criminals often scheme to defraud victims by offering too-good-to-be-true deals, like brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or gift cards as an incentive to buy a product.

Consumers should also beware of social media scams, including posts on social media sites that offer vouchers or gift cards or that pose as holiday promotions or contests, and should always be careful when downloading mobile applications on your smartphone; some apps, disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information.

Also, those looking to make a little extra money during the holiday season should be wary of websites and online postings offering home work opportunities—they may actually become the victim of an advance fee, counterfeit, or pyramid scheme, or become an unknowing participant in criminal activity.

If you suspect you have been victimized, contact your financial institution immediately, contact law enforcement, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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