It seems like the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier each year with many stores decked out in holiday decorations even before Halloween so it is certainly not too early to warn you about scams involving online shopping for the season’s most popular toys. Every year there are a few toys that are in especially high demand. Often it is difficult to find these toys and the prices when you do manage to find them, they can be pretty expensive which is why so many people are susceptible to being scammed by criminals offering to sell these desirable toys on line at bargain prices. People falling for this scam end up both not getting the toy that they thought they ordered and losing their money in the process. This year’s most sought after toys include a Baby Yoda animatronic toy, Nintendo Switch and L.O.L Surprise dolls. Scammers are sending emails and setting up phony retail websites to lure people into this scam.
As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, so you should be particularly skeptical when you find an online seller of a highly in demand toy for a dramatically discounted price. Always use a credit card when you buy anything online or in a brick and mortar store because of the strong consumer protection laws that protect you from liability in the event of a scam. When you use your debit card, you do not get the same strong protections from fraud. You are better off dealing with reputable retailers with which you are familiar, but even then you should make sure when you buy anything online that you are dealing with the real retailer and not a counterfeit website set up by a scammer. You can confirm whether or not the website is legitimate by going to the website whois.com where you can find out who owns the particular website. If you find that the website which appears to be WalMart is owned by someone in Nigeria, for example, you can be sure that it is a scam. It is important to remember that even if you get the URL for a popular retailer’s website through a Google or other search engine search, it does not mean that the website they are sending you to is a legitimate site. Sophisticated scammers can manipulate the algorithms used by search engines to enable their phony websites to be ranked high in a search.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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