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4 tips to protect yourself from Black Friday scams

Click here for a gallery of the biggest data breaches of all time. (Augie Martin/CNN)

Black Friday is the busiest day for in-store shopping nationwide and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis warns all shoppers to beware of potential scams surrounding Black Friday.

“Scammers know that the holiday season is a time when many consumers are out spending money, making it one of their favorite times of the year to steal from you," Patronis said. "Holiday shopping can leave consumers vulnerable and more likely to fall victim to scams. It’s important to stay alert when shopping this season and be on the lookout for potential scams.”

Patronis offered four tips to avoid becoming a victim.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Be careful of unfamiliar merchants and be extra wary of items listed at prices well below those of other shops. The ultimate bargain may really be bogus or stolen goods.
  2. Use a credit card instead of cash or debit. Credit cards offer consumer protection if things go wrong with a purchase.
  3. Be careful of credit and coupon offers. Those last-minute deals that offer discounts in exchange for opening up a new credit account can be a trap to make you divulge financial information
  4. Watch your account balances. Monitor your checking, savings, credit and any others for unauthorized charges or deposits. Report any suspicious activity immediately.

For more advice from Florida officials on shopping safely this holiday season, click here.