CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – There are always some “must-have” toys that kids put on their Christmas lists, so schemers use this to their advantage.

These popular toys sell out fast and become expensive and hard to find. Some of the hottest toys in 2023 include the Furby, Barbie Dreamhouse, Fingerlings, Bitzee, Lego, Elmo Slide, Dog-E, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mayhem Pizza Fire Delivery Van, and Beast Lab, according to in a press release from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

If you are shopping for a child, don’t let schemers trick you into accidentally buying a fake or nonexistent version of a popular toy.

These hot toys are sold out at every store you visit, so you turn to online shopping. That’s how the scheme starts. A quick search takes you to a page that has the toy in stock. The site looks professional and has original images of the product on it. The site may even offer the product at discounted prices, claiming a “last-minute deal” or “flash sale,” but many of those offers are fake.

In many cases that have been reported to BBB, buyers thought they were going to order a high-quality toy, but instead, they got a cheap and fake version. In some cases, the products were never shipped, and the websites were gone. When the customer tried to follow up with the company, they found that the staff either didn’t respond or refused to give a refund.

One shopper told BBB Scam Tracker that they ordered a discounted Lego set online. “I waited a day or so and got back with the company on my order and was told this is their busy season and will take longer to ship.” The shopper waited, but they never received a shipping confirmation. When they reached out to the company again, they offered to refund their order, but the shopper never got their money back. 

Tips to avoid toy scams

  • Only buy toys from reputable stores and websites. The best way to avoid getting scammed when purchasing toys is to buy them directly from a seller you know and trust.
  • Don’t be fooled by extra-low prices. Unreasonably low prices are a red flag for a scam on many products. Avoid making a purchase from a retailer you aren’t familiar with just because the price sounds too good to be true – it probably is!
  • Research before you buy. If a company seems legitimate but you aren’t familiar with it, be extra careful with your personal information. Before offering up your name, address, and credit card information, make sure the company has a working customer service number.

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