3 On Your Side

Trends and tips for a safe holiday season

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

First of all, when it comes to purchasing an item, consumers should always ask for a gift receipt. Not only will the person getting the gift appreciate it, but so will the store.

“I think retailers really appreciate when you ask for a gift receipt,” sad Felecia Thompson of the Phoenix Better Business Bureau. “It makes the return process a lot smoother if someone comes back to exchange or return the item."

Thompson also recommends before buying a product, particularly big-ticket items, make sure you ask about the warranty information. What's covered? What's not? And how long is the warranty?

"It's very important to not to be so dazzled by the price or the deal you're getting. You have to know how you're going to be covered if something goes wrong so the retailer can get the problem fixed or corrected," she said.

The BBB also suggests that you research products first before buying. For instance, read reviews and look for sales flyers.

You should also look out for phishing scams. Con-men frequently create fake links that look like a legitimate retailer in hopes that you'll click on it.

“So, they're hoping that you won't be paying attention and that you'll click on those links and you give them information because you think they are who they say they are. “You think you're dealing with a retailer and you're really not,” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. “Absolutely,” she replied.

And finally, when you're out and about shopping, use Free Wi-Fi, just be careful when you’re on it.

“If you're on your bank account checking information or looking at your credit card information, those are things you want to avoid.”

Reviewing sensitive information on public Wi-Fi is very risky because your information could be compromised.

For more information and tips, visit the BBB.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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