LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Every year, there’s always a few “must-have” toys on most kids’ holiday wish list. Scammers are using the toy’s popularity to trick parents out of their money.
The popular toy sells out fast and becomes expensive and hard to find. That’s when scammers come in and create cheap, counterfeit versions of these toys. Consumers report receiving these products while scammers make away with their money.
Jillian Dickerson, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “Each year, you know there’s that highlighted toy item that every kid wants. It’s on every kid’s list. All of the grandparent’s, parents, aunts and uncles are heading to the stores trying to find that item.”
This year’s hot picks include Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition, AKA Baby Yoda, and a realistic toy dog. These toys usually sell out fast, become expensive, or are hard to find. That’s when scammers come into play making away with people’s hard-earned money.
“It’s something that you have to be aware of. Of course, we want to shop local, but we also know with the situation, there’s online shopping as well, and those items are going to sell out quickly so scammers are creating these websites that look like a legitimate company and they take your credit card information. You order because you think, ‘ohmygoodness, I have to got to get this. It’s just a good toy,’ and what you get in the mail once it’s shipped is this counterfeit cheap quality nothing non-branded item, and there’s not really much you can do after that point after ordering,” explained Dickerson.
The problem… the website you order the toy from may look professional and have original images of the product. Maybe even offering a discount… the reality, many such offers are fake.
“We have consumers that have gone online because they’ve needed that item, and once they order it, it’s supposed to be a life like product puppy dog that’s realistic, and a lady got in what looked like a stuffed animal that you would get from a vending machine at an arcade so she was very disappointed,” added Dickerson.
Another issue, experts say the websites offering counterfeit products usually disappear after a customer orders a product.
Scott Lavergne, CEO of Enterprise Data Concepts, said, “The big thing to look for is that URL at the top. If you’re not at something.com, then you could be somewhere else. If you’re at Amazon.com, bestbuy.com, apple.com, you could be somewhere else and it could be amazon.something.com and then that’s when you need to be worried because you might be at a site that’s trying to spoof Amazon.”
The Better Business Bureau has these tips on how to avoid toy scams:
- Only buy toys from reputable stores and website and a good reminder is to shop local.
- Don’t be folloed by extra-low prices. Low prices could be a red flag for a scam on many products.
- Research before you buy. Make sure the company has a working customer service number.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.