Microchip shortage leads shoppers online for toys, BBB warns of toy scams

Local News

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WRIC) — The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to avoid online scams ahead of the holidays.

Leslie Blackwell, with the Better Business Bureau representing Central Virginia, said the microchip shortage is leaving fewer toys on the shelves. As a result, product shortages are leading more people to shop for them online.

“We see a huge increase in online shopping because folks seem to think it’s a lot easier. Unfortunately that’s where the scammers lurk,” Blackwell said.

Amber Manry, who lives in Henrico, said she recently bought items off of Amazon.

“I got an email saying my Amazon order was on hold because of an address problem. So then I clicked on that email,” she said.

Another website prompted her to type in her Amazon username and password which gave her red flags.

“It looked a little off. It wasn’t amazon.com and I noticed that it was basically a scammer,” she said.

Blackwell said toys like the play stations, Baby Yodas and Nintendo gaming systems are the most popular items, and often sell out first.

That’s when scammers swoop in with phony websites advertising lower prices.

Blackwell recommended checking to see if the retailer has any complaints by using the BBB scam tracker.

She also suggests looking online for the company’s refund and return policy.

“Make sure that it says https. That’ll stand for secure in the url in the box when you’re browsing,” Blackwell said.

Manry said these are all tips that have helped her to avoid becoming a victim to any other scammers, “If I hadn’t looked at the email address, the sender address – I would’ve been scammed.”

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