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Shopping for holiday decorations? Don’t fall for this online retail trick

The holiday season is just a few weeks away, which means many are shopping for decorations. Stores have already started playing Christmas jingles, and their decorations are up in full force. Tap or click here for 15 killer holiday deals on Amazon to buy now.

If you don’t want to brave brick-and-mortar stores, you could be looking to buy holiday decorations online. A study suggests that the average American spends around $270 on decorations each year. A large portion of that comes from shopping online.

Sadly, online advertising isn’t always what it claims to be. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning everyone to be on the lookout for holiday shopping scams that are already making the rounds. Keep reading for ways to protect your finances this holiday shopping season.

Here’s the backstory

Trying to get a head start on holiday decorations or looking for post-Halloween sales online can be an excellent place to kick off the holiday shopping season. But it would help if you were careful where you find things to buy.

The BBB is warning that fraudulent ads claiming to have fantastic holiday decorations for sale are popping up on social media and online search results. A common theme with these scams is items advertised are not what they seem to be.

You’ll see pictures of holiday decorations that look wonderful with incredible lights and features. Best of all, the decorations are being sold at surprisingly low prices.

BBB explained how the scam ends, “You make your payment and wait for the decorations to arrive. However, when your package is delivered, the product is nothing like what you saw online.

‘In many cases, it’s a poorly manufactured miniature version of what you thought you bought. You now don’t have a way to return the items or receive a refund. In fact, you probably won’t even be able to contact the company.”

That’s why it’s essential to know who you’re buying items online from. There are more precautionary rules to live by.

Stay safe this holiday shopping season

The BBB has some suggestions to ensure that you don’t become a victim through these types of scams. Here are some tips:

  • Research before buying. Before purchasing holiday gifts or decorations on an unfamiliar website, check out the company. Make sure it has working contact information. This includes a telephone number, email address and physical address. Look on other sites for company reviews and scam reports. You can always look for business ratings and customer reviews on BBB.org.
  • Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. Keep in mind that large decorations involving special lights and technology are expensive. If you find items astonishingly cheap, it could be a scam.
  • Don’t make quick purchases through social media. Fraudulent advertisers can track your buying habits from social media ads and target you with specific products they think you’ll fall for. Also, don’t make impulse buys while scrolling through your feed. Research items and companies first to avoid getting scammed.
  • Always use your credit card for online purchases. Credit card companies let you dispute fraudulent charges, a resource you may not have if you purchase items with a debit or gift card.

Want to watch for the latest scams making the rounds? BBB has a Scam Tracker that keeps you posted on things to watch for and gives you a way to report a business that sounds like a scam or fraud. Check it out here.

Keep reading

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