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Shopping for holiday decorations? Don’t fall for this online shopping scam

The holiday season is nearing rapidly, 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 the best way to avoid spoiling gifts you purchased on Amazon.

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.

The problem is 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 badly manufactured miniature version of what you thought you purchased. Now you 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 you don’t become a victim through these scams. Here are some tips:

  • Do your research before you buy. Before you make a purchase on an unfamiliar website, check out the company. Make sure they have working contact information. This should include a telephone number, email address, and, preferably, a physical address. Look on other websites for reviews of the company and reports of scams. You can always look for business ratings and customer reviews on BBB.org.
  • Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Keep in mind that large decorations that involve special lights and technology are expensive. If you find something amazing for cheap, it could be a scam.
  • Don’t make quick purchases on social media. Scam advertisers can track your buying habits from social media ads and then target you with specific products they think you’ll fall for. Don’t buy anything on impulse while scrolling through your feed. Do research first to avoid getting scammed.
  • Always use your credit card for online purchases. Credit card companies allow you to dispute fraudulent charges, a resource you may not have at your disposal if you purchase an item 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.

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