Many parents dread the holiday season shopping, as there are always new hot toys that kids want but are hard to find. Not content with last year’s trends, many children want the latest and greatest things in their stockings. Tap or click here for details on a holiday decoration scheme going around.
As with any business model, that naturally drives up demand. When stocks are low on a must-have item, it sometimes results in prohibitively high prices. But parents need to be cautious when that happens, as criminals and scammers are waiting to pounce.
Now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning about scammers targeting holiday gift shoppers. If you fall for these schemes, you’ll end up with a light wallet and disappointed kids.
Here’s the backstory
Buying from a reputable store is always the best way to go, but when an item is sold out, you might start looking elsewhere. That is when you come upon an online retailer that you haven’t used before or never heard of.
They might have ads listing the exact gift that you have been looking for in stock but in limited quantities. If you’re desperate enough to find what your child is asking for, you might act fast.
But that is what scammers are counting on. The BBB is warning that now is the time to be vigilant against fake retailers looking to rip holiday shoppers off. If you go ahead with the purchase on an unknown site, the chances are good that you will be out of pocket and the gift will never arrive.
“Buyers thought they were ordering a high-quality, animatronic toy. Instead, they received a cheap counterfeit version. In other cases, the products never shipped at all and the websites vanished,” the BBB explained in a blog post.
A report also surfaced from a shopper who ordered and paid for a Nintendo Switch OLED and a PlayStation 5 on an unfamiliar website. After payment cleared, an email instructed them to wait 24 to 48 hours for shipping information. Checking the site a day later, it vanished completely.
Not sure what to buy this year or where to get it? These are some of the toys with the highest demand:
- Paw Patrol Movie Ultimate City Transforming tower
- Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu
- LOL Surprise dolls
Don’t be scammed this holiday season
Scammers are out in full force to target as many people as they can. There are a few ways to have a safe and stress-free shopping experience, and the first step is to be aware of the latest schemes.
Here are some more tips from the BBB on avoiding toy scams:
- Stick with reputable stores and websites. The best way to avoid getting scammed when purchasing toys is to buy directly from a seller you know and trust.
- Extra-low prices on the hottest toys are a red flag. Stay away from retailers you aren’t familiar with, especially when the price sounds too good to be true — it probably is!
- Research before you buy. If a company seems legitimate, but you aren’t familiar with it, be extra careful with personal information. Before offering your name, address, and credit card information, make sure the company has a working customer service number and look for company reviews.
Also, if you think that you spot fraud (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others from falling for the same scheme.
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