Christmas is quickly approaching and that means you’ll likely be adding gifts to your physical and online shopping carts.

This year, however, shopping may look a bit different amid supply chain shortages and shipping delays. Then there are the ever-present scammers lurking in the shadows, waiting to take advantage of your generosity.

Before you start your shopping, consider these tips and watch out for scams to ensure your holiday season doesn’t fall victim to a Grinch.

1. Shop smartly online.

This holiday season, some sought-after items could be hard to find as a result of supply-chain issues.

The Federal Trade Commission recently reminded consumers who may be scouring the internet for their hard-to-find gifts to be vigilant when making purchases through online marketplaces or with retailers you have never heard of before.

If this sounds like your plan, here are some things you can do to avoid a scam or negative experience:

  • Check the rules about refunds and returns, and what happens if there’s a problem. Does the site have processes to help you get a refund if you don’t get exactly what was advertised or never get the item?
  • Make sure they let you pay with a safe payment method. For example, credit cards have legal protections, or a secure online payment system can protect you in case there’s a problem. If someone tells you to pay with a…

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