It Gift Shopping Scams

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As you continue to shop for birthday presents and plan for holiday gifts during the year, here’s something that I learned about finding the hot “it” gift for your child. This year my youngest had her little heart set on a brand new LeapPad. The only problem was that this was the hottest gift of the year and they were selling before they even hit the shelves!

So I did what any cyber-savvy mom would do, I scoured the Internet for any store that might happen to have a Pink LeapPad in stock. I found a website that had the prized toy listed for $71 – not $99 msrp. That price was way below the $200+ I was seeing it sell for on eBay!

Before I got too excited, I began to look at the website. On the page in the upper corner it clearly stated that they had a money back guarantee.  I decided to see if I could find some contact information. I couldn’t find so much as an email address. The first red flag went up!

As I looked at the page, I noticed links to other hot games and toys. World of Warcraft? Halo? Those aren’t baby toys. I hightailed it out of there. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to my credit card information!

Every year there is some “It” toy or game that all the kids want. Some parents are willing to pay big bucks to get that toy under the tree. One year my hubby was willing to sleep outside in the Chicago winter to put the brand new Wii under our tree! Some savvy folks buy those games up early, in the hopes of cashing in later by selling them online.

Criminals, however, start advertising on rogue websites, posting on social networks, anything to drive traffic to their site, which claims to have the hot toy in abundance! You quickly make the purchase and excitedly await a box to arrive in the mail. Unfortunately, no box arrives and your credit card number is now in the hands of a criminal.

Follow my lead and these tips when you shop online:

1.        Shop only from well-known websites.

2.       Make sure that you check out return policies and contact information before you type in your credit card info.

3.       Look for a Trustmark, such as the McAfee Trustmark, when shopping online.

4.       Don’t let emotion override your sensibility – check out a website thoroughly before you buy. Google the name and look for reviews.

Remember that although you can find good deals online, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  For more tips for shopping online, see this post.

Stay safe out there!



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