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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 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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December 21, 2020
Excellent information letting people know that they have the most protection when shopping on line using a credit card. That Topic needs to be highlighted more fully. And Help folks understand why they have more protections shopping on line using a credit card. Why debit cards do not have that level of protection. etc. Also address the level of protection available with prepaid credit card purchases.
Don T Hun
December 21, 2020
Thank you for the privacy concerns over a smart refrigerator. Any "smart" appliance is a case of concerns, in my opinion. Smart appliances are a way for unknown web users to know about your life, locations, etc. I avoid smart appliances. Thank you FTC for this article.
Mama Jo
December 28, 2020
This has been a great series and really informative. Thank you for doing this. Happy Holidays.
savvy consumer
December 21, 2020
I have thoroughly enjoyed the 12 days of Chris mas. Enjoyable to read and filled with pertinent information.
Aging shopper
December 21, 2020
Thanks for this series, really appreciated info. Can't be too careful out there.
Ohana 48462
December 21, 2020
I appreciate all of these warning that keep reinforcing the number and the reality of these scams. You are appreciated.
December 28, 2020
Your the best. You have kept me most informed on issues I didn't even consider. Happy holidays to the whole staff.