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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

WA shoppers advised to stay vigilant for scams this holiday season

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023   

The holiday gift-buying season is here -- and that means people need to stay vigilant so they don't fall victim to scams. Thieves take advantage of the season with a variety of cons, whether it's to steal money or personal identity information.

Kay Tomlinson, an AARP Fraud Watch Network volunteer with AARP Washington, says online gift buying is popular but people should be careful.

"We should really be suspicious of any online offer that offers such a deep discount over what other retailers offer. Really, we should be doing our online shopping with trusted retailers that we know," she said.

Washingtonians lost more than $240 million to online scams last year, 11th highest in the nation, according to the FBI's 2022 Internet Crime Report.

Tomlinson added package scams also are prevalent this time of year, with people getting texts claiming to be from delivery companies like UPS or FedEx.

"If you get one of these texts, type in the web address in your browser. Use an app, if that's an option. Contact the shipping company directly by a number that you know is valid -- not one provided by the text," she added.

Tomlinson said gift card scams are also common, and she suggests people buy gift cards online from reputable dealers. Folks should also research charities before they give. She added she does not want to take the joy out of the gift-giving season, but people need to protect themselves.

"You don't like to feel like you're suspicious all the time, but when you get that little voice in the back of your head, it's usually a good idea to listen to it -- especially during the holiday season," she explained.

Disclosure: AARP Washington contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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