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Consumer Gal: Don’t carry these things in your wallet

| December 16, 2021 1:00 AM

With so much focus these days on online security, we sometimes forget to pay attention to what we carry in our wallets.

According to cybersecurity experts, carry the bare minimum in your wallet in case it's stolen.

Crooks aren’t only after the cash in your wallet; they're after your personal identifiable information as well. A few things you should NOT keep in your wallet include your Social Security card, COVID-19 vaccination record card, multiple credit cards, checkbook, work ID card, passport, birth certificate and a list of your passwords.

Keep these documents in a safety deposit box at your bank or a fireproof lock box at home.

Places where wallets are likely to be snatched include gyms, grocery stores and cars, so be careful. Carry as few pieces with identification as possible so you reduce your chances of being a victim of identity theft.

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Online shopping cart discounts

Not only is shopping online convenient but it can also be a great way to find the best price before purchasing that item or gift. One way to shop online is to keep items in your wish list or your online shopping cart.

By doing this you're letting the online retailer know you're interested in that item but you aren’t quite ready to buy yet.

An online seller’s goal is to entice you to buy so they will likely offer you a discount coupon or promo code to seal the deal. Usually we use our email as part of our login, so check your email account to see if you got any offers from that retailer.

Often retailers will reward shoppers who sign up for loyalty club memberships by offering exclusive deals, especially to shoppers who sign up for email notices. It might be worth setting up a separate email for these types of accounts since it won’t take long to get bombarded with email offers if you sign up for multiple loyalty clubs.

If you aren’t offered free shipping, it will save you money to choose free in-store pickup. If the item is in stock at your local store, it's typically available the same day.

I recently took advantage of an offer by keeping an item in my local Lowe’s shopping cart. I got distracted and didn’t actually order the refrigerator online until two days later, and the price dropped by another $250 at checkout.

Purchasing online from local vendors has advantages. For example, I recently ordered a BBQ grill from the Post Falls Ace Hardware store and was surprised to learn that they offer both free assembly and delivery. Ace called to confirm my order and set up a delivery date.

The delivery person called to let me know the item was ready and scheduled a delivery drop off. Everyone I spoke to at Ace regarding my order was very friendly and helpful, so I would recommend buying from them particularly.

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What's crowdfunding?

You've probablyh been asked to give money to charities, causes or people in need through crowdfunding sites, social media platforms and other online fundraising platforms.

Online platforms such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Ingiegogo allow people to create crowdfunding campaigns for any number of purposes - for individuals or businesses. These accounts are easy to set up and the organizers can get funds quickly.

However, when you give money to a crowdfunding campaign, it goes directly to the campaign organizer. That means a dishonest person might lie about a project or those in need to play on your sympathy to get you to donate. In some situations, the organizer might keep the money for themselves.

Here are a few ways to help avoid giving to a bogus crowdfunding effort:

Find out who the organizer is on the crowdfunding page and do your homework. If you can’t find out anything about the person(s) or if any details don't match your research, it's probably a scam. In the search engine, search for the name of the organizers with the words “complaint” or “scam” and see if there have been any reports of dishonest activity.

Find the purpose of the campaign. Be clear about how the funds will be used. If the purpose isn’t clear, don’t give to the cause.

What happens if a particular crowdfunded project doesn’t move forward? Find out what will happen in this instance and whether or not you'll get your money back.

On social media, pay attention to who's sending the post and how the money will be used. Don’t assume the request is authentic because it appears that a friend posted the message.

Before giving to a crowdfunding campaign, check out: www.ftc.gov/crowdfunding

If you come across a crowdfunding scam, report it to RerportFraud.ftc.gov, the state attorney general and the crowdfunding platform.

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Remember: I’m on your side.

If you have encountered a consumer issue that you have questions about or think our readers should know about, please send me an email at terridickersonadvocate@gmail.com or call me at 208-274-4458. As The CDA Press Consumer Gal, I’m here to help.
I’m a copywriter working with businesses on marketing strategy, a columnist, a veterans advocate and a consumer advocate living in Coeur d’Alene.

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