The Montana Department of Justice reminds the public to keep an eye out for online shopping scams, identity theft attempts, and false charity solicitations during the upcoming holiday season.

“When you’re asked to donate, give wisely,” Attorney General Fox said.  “Ask questions and donate only when you’re satisfied that your money will be used in ways you consider appropriate.  Be wary of callers who use high pressure tactics or those who promise you sweepstakes winnings in exchange for your contribution.”

The Office of Consumer Protection at the Montana Department of Justice recommends donors keep the following in mind:

•            Ask how much of your contribution will go to the charity for its charitable purposes.
•            Ask solicitors if they are paid fund-raisers.  If the solicitors are paid, a portion of your contribution will pay their salary.
•            Ask solicitors to provide you with written documentation indicating that your donation will be tax deductible.
•           Don’t give your credit card number to a telephone solicitor or in response to any unsolicited phone call you receive. Pay by check instead. Your cancelled check will help you for tax record purposes. Use the full, official name of the charity on your check.

Attorney General Fox also reminded Montanans to use caution while shopping online for holiday gifts.

“Never use unsecured wireless networks to make an online purchase,” Attorney General Fox said.  “Be careful of emails requesting information. Scammers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchases or account information.  Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email.”

For more tips, or to report a concern, contact the Montana Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection at:

Phone: 1-800-481-6896 or 406-444-4500