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And a smart fridge in a pear tree

On this 12th and final day of consumer protection — just of this series, you understand, not ever — here are a few reminders as you head toward whatever holiday you celebrate (or don’t) this December. Whether you’re shopping for a fridge that reminds you that you’re out of milk (step OFF, appliances, I’ve got this) or some cozy slippers, remember:

  • Read the reviews. What are experts saying about the product you’re after? Do they compare brands or versions of the product? Is tech ability needed to appreciate and use it?
  • Compare prices. Obviously, right? But online or in-person door-buster “deals” with low, low prices often pressure you to act quickly. So do some up-front work on what price neighborhood to expect, especially for higher-priced items. That way, you know what’s really a good deal, and what’s just lots of hype.
  • What about privacy? You know your comfort level with what your devices know about you. But if you’re gifting, how would the recipient feel about, say, a connected watch that tracks her steps and encourages her to walk more? Might she, I don’t know, set fire to that device after a few days? Or thank you SO much for suggesting that she ought to exercise? Theoretically, you understand.
  • Pay by credit card. You have the most protections when you shop (online or elsewhere) with a credit card.

We hope the 12 Days of Consumer Protection series helped remind you of a few ways to save money or protect yourself from scams. And we hope you shared the blogs and graphics with your network. And it’s not too late! Share on — and sign up for the blog at ftc.gov/consumeralerts to stay up with the latest scams. And happy holidays from your friends at the FTC.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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