Experts are predicting an earlier start to the 2021 holiday shopping season because of supply chain concerns and holiday hiring. This entices scammers to find ways to take advantage of the situation. According to the analysis of online purchase scam reports submitted to BBB Scam Tracker, more than 400 different types of products were used by scammers to perpetrate fraud, including counterfeit products.
Scammers may capitalize on what people are looking for online, paying close attention to the most sought-after gifts such as electronics, toys and other trendy gift items. Footwear and apparel were the most common counterfeit product types, with Nike the most impostered brand. Other top brands that scammers focus on, according to BBB research, include NFL clothing, Apple gadgets, Louis Vuitton handbags, Tiffany jewelry, LEGO toys, and 3M N95 masks.
Other items that scammers promote include luggage, collectibles, and medical/nutrition products. BBBs analysis also shows that pets and pet supplies are the riskiest online purchase scams, with 70% of people losing money, and a median dollar loss of $750. The French Bulldog was the top breed used to perpetuate puppy scams.
BBB offers the following tips on how to identify a potential online shopping scam:
- Watch for low-priced or mid-priced items, usually in the hundreds of dollar range for an item that is typically offered at a much higher price at a retailer.
- Consumers expect quality from things like shoes, clothing, and jewelry. If an online search for these items comes up with a range of items between $100 to $300 and associated with a name brand or a popular luxury item versus a search using a designer name and presents a much higher priced result, chances are it is probably not the real product.
- Read the website and look for grammatical errors. Typographical errors indicate the site was more than likely put together quickly.
- Search for contact information. Search for a phone, email address, online chat function, and check to see if there is a brick-and-mortar address for the business.
- Check BBB. If a business displays a BBB Accredited Business seal, verify its legitimacy by going to BBB.org and looking up the company.
ABOUT BBB SERVING CENTRAL INDIANA: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB serving Central Indiana, which was founded in 1916 and serves 46 counties.