In the course of an average week or month, people act as a consumer many times. But the period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year is often the busiest for shopping, making contributions, travel and much more.
Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)  provides advice on safe holiday shopping and end-of-year charitable giving.
DATCP officials recently released an updated version of their Senior Guide . In it, they offer these tips for making sure that your charitable gifts are going to reliable organizations:
Be very cautious of:
Before you donate:
Sandy Chalmers, the administrator of the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection, said people should look to long-running organizations.
“Organizations that you know have been around for quite some time, that’s the best way to go,” she siad.
Beyond charitable giving, there are a lot of purchases being made at this time of the year as well. Michelle Reinen, the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said that if a person is planning a purchase based on an advertised sale price, “take those advertisements and flyers with you so you know the details of the ad and what you’re looking to purchase. Then you can verify that the lowest advertised price is what’s coming up on the scanner.”
Reinen also recommended taking along a pen and pad of paper to make note of the shelf prices to check them when making your purchase.
Other advice from DATCP for shopping in stores includes:
Of course more and more shopping takes place on-line today. Chalmers reminded shoppers to make sure that their computer’s operating system, firewalls and security software are up to date.
DATCP shares specific advice for shoppers making purchases on the Internet:
Chalmers reminded shoppers that scammers take advantage of what is popular that shopping season.
“Crooks know what the hot gift items are, whether it’s an iPad, or a Leap pads for kids. Beware advertisements on social media sites or through email or texts with links that are supposedly to enter a contest to win those items or to order them. Quite frequently, clicking on them will download malicious software onto your computer or device. And then there’s no end to the trouble,” Chalmers said.