'Tis the season to be wary, BBB says
Many parents will likely see the word “Fingerlings” at the top of their child’s holiday gift wish list this year. However, at the top of the Better Business Bureau's list is a warning.
The BBB says the monkey-shaped finger puppets are sold out everywhere, but scammers are using old tricks to lure in new consumers.
BBB Upstate Communications Director Melanie McGovern says a lot of people get excited about getting a great deal around the holidays.
"If you see a really low price on any of these items, that sometimes is a red flag that it might not really be the product or you might not get the product at all if you order it," she says.
McGovern says some scammers are selling counterfeit toys, others are collecting money and not sending orders.
"We have 20 reports nationwide to our scam-tracker tool, which is our online scam monitoring on our website," McGovern says. "People are saying that they sent emails and they didn't get any response. They ordered months ago and they aren't getting any product. Or their call goes to a voicemail and they aren't getting any calls back."
She says scammers are also creating fake third-party websites to gather sensitive credit and debit card information.
How do you protect yourself from becoming a victim?
"It's always good to just check the website. Make sure it's a legitimate retailer," McGovern says. "If it's a third-party seller, make sure there's contact information, return information, a working home number, a working email. You know, things like that, so if something does happen you have a little bit of recourse."
McGovern says these tips are not exclusive to toy purchases. Sports memorabilia, designer items and clothing are other items touted by scammers.