Scam Alert: Looking for this season’s hot toy? Beware of scams

  
     
Desperate parents targeted by scammers with fake Fingerlings. It’s the one thing parents dread most at the holidays: The List. Because there is always at least one popular-but-impossible-to-find toy every year that all the kids want. This year it’s Fingerlings, the cute finger-puppet monkeys. Unfortunately, the fact that they have sold out in many stores has turned them into bait for scammers. Con artists are selling counterfeit Fingerlings or simply making sales they don’t plan to fulfill.
December 14, 2017

Desperate parents targeted by scammers with fake Fingerlings. It’s the one thing parents dread most at the holidays: The List. Because there is always at least one popular-but-impossible-to-find toy every year that all the kids want. This year it’s Fingerlings, the cute finger-puppet monkeys. Unfortunately, the fact that they have sold out in many stores has turned them into bait for scammers. Con artists are selling counterfeit Fingerlings or simply making sales they don’t plan to fulfill.

How does this scam work? You may want to purchase Fingerlings for your kids or grandkids, but they seem to be sold out at every store you visit. Instead, you decide to search online. You come across a website, perhaps by clicking on a Facebook ad or other advertisement. The site may seem legitimate and feature images of the original toy. The company may even promise very fast shipping. However, many unscrupulous ecommerce sites have been scamming buyers.

In the past month, BBB Scam Tracker has received nearly 20 reports of Fingerling scams. Consumers report being unable to contact the company by phone or email when their order doesn’t arrive. Others, who receive counterfeit toys, are told that getting a refund is impossible.

Tips to Avoid the Fingerling Scam: 

  • Only purchase from reputable retailers. Knowing the seller is the best way to avoid getting scammed. It is best to buy products directly from the manufacturer or authorized resellers.
  • Beware of unreasonably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An extra low price, especially when toys are sold out at many well-known retailers, should be a red flag. Low prices are often a sign of counterfeit products.
  • Be cautious with your personal information. Don’t be quick to give out your name and credit card information to an unfamiliar company. First, call the provided customer service number to make sure it works and someone can answer your questions about products, payment and shipping.
  • Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See BBB.org/shoppingonline for more advice.

Make your holidays merry and bright by becoming informed on holiday scams and keeping your hard-earned money in your pocket. To read more about counterfeit product scams on BBB.org/counterfeitscam. And to learn more about scams, in general, go to BBB Scam Tips (BBB.org/scamtips). Or to report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/scamtracker). 

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Kelvin Collins is President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor, serving 83 counties in East Alabama, West Georgia, Southwest Georgia, Central Georgia, East Georgia and Western South Carolina. This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: www.bbb.org or E-mail:info@centralgeorgia.bbb.org