Christmas shopping season is upon us and if you look online to secure the hot toys of the year, look out for scammers who promise one thing, yet deliver another.

The Better Business Bureau says a common online scam occurs during the Christmas season involving popular toys that are often hard to find in stock. Scammers will create very convincing websites with pictures of the popular, hard to find toy and claim they indeed have them in stock.

Consumers who then purchase the toys will receive cheap, counterfeit versions of what they thought they had ordered.  Then, when a refund is requested, they may be ignored or find their refund request is denied. One company only offered a 10% refund while also telling the consumer they must pay a $20 shipping fee.

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Obviously, this can put a damper on the Christmas spirit, but there are ways to protect yourself from being ripped off.  The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid toy scams:

  • Only buy toys from reputable stores and websites. The best way to avoid getting scammed when purchasing toys is to buy them directly from a seller you know and trust.
  • Don’t be fooled by extra-low prices. Unreasonably low prices are a red flag for a scam on many products. Avoid making a purchase from a retailer you aren’t familiar with just because the price sounds too good to be true – it probably is!
  • Research before you buy. If a company seems legitimate but you aren’t familiar with it, be extra careful with your personal information. Before offering up your name, address, and credit card information, make sure the company has a working customer service number

Here's to everyone having a very Merry Christmas and good luck finding a Sony PS5.