ALBANY, NY (WENY)-- The State Division of Consumer Protection recently started rolling out a five-part consumer alert series to help New Yorkers navigate the holiday shopping season. 

The first alert provides guidance to consumers to avoid online shopping scams. 

“We’re gonna do a lot more shopping online and a lot more activity online. And we continue as the Division of Consumer Protection to remind people about protecting their private information," said New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez. 

He added that consumers should be cautious of links if they are unsure of where it came from. The alert also warns consumers about shopping through social media sites. 

The other recently released alerts provide guidance for New Yorker's about holiday charity scams and returns and refund policies. Rodriguez said it's important for consumers to recognize the rules around New York State law returns and refunds. 

Under New York State law, retailers are not required to accept returns, however they must post a conspicuous notice visible to consumers before the point of sale advising that no returns will be accepted. If they do not post a return policy, the law requires the retailer to accept returns of unused undamaged merchandise within 30 days of the purchase date, with proof of purchase. 

"It's very important that when you're going into a traditional store that you look out for what that policy might be," Rodriguez said. 

The State Division of Consumer Protection has a consumer assistance helpline reachable at 1-800-697-1220 for consumers with questions and concerns.