ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Better Business Bureau is warning your holiday shopping could be at-risk this season. Online scams now make up one-third of all scam reports filed with the bureau, and one out of five consumers who report these hoaxes lose money, making these the riskiest type of fraud going.
During the pandemic, with more people shopping online, Melanie McGovern with the Bureau says there was an increase in online scams.
“As we get closer to the holidays, we know there’s a microchip shortage, there are supply chain issues, and scammers are going to take advantage of that,” she says.
When hot items trend over Christmas, —-and experts are saying we might be seeing a big shortage—- the phony websites and offers pop up.
“If the website looks like it was put together quickly, the spacing is off, there’s poor grammar, the pictures are pixelated…” says McGovern.
And the biggest scam where people lose the most money? Pets. “So we see these fake dog websites pop up all the time for these designer breeds that normally go for several thousand, but are being sold for seven hundred (dollars),” says McGovern.
French Bulldogs, the most scammed breed. McGovern says to use their BBB scam tracker. “We always tell people to look for a BBB accredited breeder or a shelter that is accredited by Give.org,” she says.
And those most prone to fall for these hoaxes? Shoppers ages 18 to 24. “They grew up with the Internet, they don’t think about you know, scam websites,” she says.
McGovern says whatever you’re buying online, be vigilant and check business rating at BBB dot org. if it’s an ‘F’ rating— avoid it. “Make sure that website it legitimate before you put in any personal information,” she says.