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BBB recommendations to shop safe and smart this holiday season


As people are starting their holiday shopping early with a labor shortage and supply chain issues, shopping scams are even more popular this year as people choose to buy online.

Electronics, toys and other products will be, or already are, in short supply, and retailers are struggling to staff up for the holidays. Product shortages and increased online shopping are likely to result in even more online purchase scams this year. 

Keeping all this in mind, the Better Business Bureau has recommendations to “Shop Safe, Shop Smart” this holiday season, including making sure when shopping you don't buy something solely based on price, checking the website URL for bad grammar or strange contact information and being cautious when paying by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards or other non-traditional payment methods. 

BBB recommendations to shop safe and smart this season:

  • Research before you buy
  • If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is
  • Beware of fake websites
  • Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer
  • Make sure the website is secure
  • Be careful purchasing sought-after products, especially during the holiday season
  • Beware of making quick purchases while scrolling through social media
  • Look for the BBB seal
  • Use secure and traceable transactions and payment methods
  • Shipment tracking information can be faked

According to the FBI, every year thousands of people become victims of holiday scams. A report from the FBI said the two most prevalent holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes. This includes a buyer paying for something online, but the items are never received, or goods and services being shipped but the seller is never paid.

While businesses are still dealing with supply shortages, the BBB said if you are holiday shopping and an item is out of stock, there are ways to find items that are sold out in stores.

One thing to consider is researching multiple vendors’ websites to see who is carrying stock. If a larger chain is out of what you need, try an independent shop or a different store. Bookmark the product page and check back once in a while. Many vendors restock items that are high-demand.

You can also check a store's return policy. If it gives you a chance to return an item you should purchase the product as soon as possible.

If you feel like you have tried everything to find a product, don't lose hope just yet. Some resale sites may offer hard-to-find products. But watch out for scammers when looking for this year's hottest toy or a product that is very popular.

Make sure you report unsatisfactory purchase experiences to BBB this holiday season.  If you are unhappy with a purchase, you can file a complaint with BBB. If you never got what you paid for, consider reporting it to the BBB Scam Tracker to help other consumers avoid being scammed.

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.


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