CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warned consumers to exercise caution when evaluating credit card offers this holiday season.

Consumers may see an uptick in credit card offers with the Christmas shopping season now in full swing. While it may be tempting to take advantage of the “buy now, pay later” option, the Attorney General urges consumers to verify the credit card offer is legitimate.

“It’s critical to look at the fine print if you’re getting a new credit card,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Take the time to know what the interest rules are. Know what you’re getting into so you don’t get sticker shock at the other end of the line.”

Holiday credit card offers require a close reading of the contract. Deferred interest promotions may promise zero-percent interest through December 2021, but failure to pay off the entire balance by the promotion period’s end could stick the consumer with an interest charge dating back to the item’s original purchase date.

Before responding to a credit card offer, keep these things in mind:

•Do an online search if the offering company looks unfamiliar. Include the word “scam” after the company’s name to see if it triggers additional results.
•Call the offering company directly if an offer to increase a line of credit looks suspicious. The phone number is often printed on the back of the card.
•Do not provide personal information or click on any link in an email warning of a problem with the card.

The advice comes as part of the Attorney General’s Holiday Consumer Protection Month.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a fraudulent credit card offer, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

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