2016-11-09 / Features

Shop Safe & Beware Identity Thieves On Black Friday

By Liz Goff
Merchants along Astoria’s commercial strips are hoping to hear bells on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. That’s the sound of cash registers singing each time consumers plunk down cash and plastic on the first official day of the holiday shopping season.

Shoppers will find it easier to put more presents under the tree this holiday season, retail experts said. “But it’s not saying that most people are living on easy street.”
Consumers will always shop where they can get the lowest prices for most wanted gifts, retailers said. “It’s always a matter of economics.”  
People will shop where they can get the best bargains, local retailers said. “That means we sometimes have to adapt to current spending conditions if we want to draw more holiday shoppers to the area.”
Officials at the city Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) have released their annual list of tips for shoppers who brave the “Black Friday” frenzy:
Don’t get caught up in the rush of holiday shopping. Don’t make mistakes that could cost you in January.
Save receipts and indicate (if the receipt is not pre-printed) exactly what you purchased, and when you purchased the item(s).
Don’t hesitate to ask about store policy regarding returns and refunds. If you can’t bring it back, it might not be such a bargain.
Make sure you get all warranty cards, information, etc. enclosed in items that are covered by manufacturers. If you find a bargain in an open box, make sure warranty cards and information are packed inside before you pay.
Purchasing items from local retailers just makes sense, DCA officials said. Remember, your local shopkeeper will be around in January if you need an adjustment or a refund.
Police officials are urging shoppers to be cautious when making their way through “Black Friday” crowds.
“Watch your cash and credit cards, don’t flash large amounts of cash and watch out for scams,” police officials said. “Don’t treat Black Friday like it’s a big party where lots of people gather to mark the start of the holiday season.
“Always ask for receipts for items you purchase with debit or credit cards,” NYPD officials said. “Don’t let someone steal your receipts and your identity.”
For more tips on how to stay safe while fighting off Black Friday crowds, call the Crime Prevention officer at your local precinct or go to:  crimeprevention@nypd.org.

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