Buying Gifts? Watch Out For Fake Sellers

NBC 7 Responds takes a look at the reemergence of holiday toy fraud

NBC Universal, Inc.

Searching for the perfect gift can be difficult, especially if it's one of the hottest toys of the year. Electronics such as gaming consoles can also be hard to find, which is why some people are willing to take a risk on unknown sellers online.

"I just thought it was a really good price so I went ahead and bought it," said Kari, a parent who thought she had scored a great deal on a new Barbie dream house.

It was supposed to be the perfect Christmas gift for her daughter, but after a month and a half of strange emails and no dream house, she realized she might never get it.

"They just kept sending me bogus tracking," said Kari. "I was sidetracked by the price of the new one. It was so much less than even a used one. I should've used common sense."

That hurried rush to get the perfect gift is something the Better Business Bureau is warning about.

"A lot of scammers take advantage of that because they know parents are willing to go to extreme measures to get their child's desired toy," said Viridiana Quintana with the BBB. "Scammers may tell you there is a sale, a day-only offer, so parents act rapidly."

Unfortunately, once you send them the money it can be very difficult to get it back. The BBB has several recommendations to try and avoid falling prey to one of these schemes this holiday season.

  • Buy from a reputable store or website. The best way to avoid running into issues like this is to buy from stores that people trust.
  • Don't fall for extra-low pricing. If the price seems far too good to be true, it might be, especially if it's from a seller you aren't familiar with.
  • Do your research. If the company seems legitimate but you aren't familiar with it, look it up. Before sending them personal information or your money, search them online and see if they have a working customer service number.
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