BBB warns of online toy scams amid nationwide toy shortage

Posted at 6:59 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 06:59:13-05

CLEVELAND — If you’re having a hard time finding everything on your child’s Christmas list, you’re not alone thanks to a nationwide toy shortage.

ABC News reports toy sales are up 20% this year and the pandemic is partly to blame. Since families have been forced to stay home man of them have been desperate for ways to stay entertained, especially when it comes to children. Popular toys and electronics, like the PlayStation 5, are sold out. Nostalgic items like puzzles and board games are also hard to find.

“People are looking for bargains and there are websites that pop up offering these toys at discounted prices,” said President and CEO of Cleveland Better Business Bureau Sue McConnell.

McConnell said that’s a major concern for the BBB around this time of year, but it’s been heightened by the pandemic. She says many of those websites promoting those hard-to-find toys are fake and are controlled by cybercriminals who are waiting to attack.

“Scammers take advantage of the fact that we are vulnerable right now, that we're maybe not as cautious or skeptical as we should be,” McConnell said.

So far, the BBB has received numerous reports surrounding the “baby Yoda” toy and a popular dog toy.

“What they got was either a cheap sock puppet or something that was just a stuffed toy. It was not at all the animatronic baby Yoda that it was supposed to be,” McConnell said.

As always, whenever you’re shopping online the best thing you can do is use a credit card. McConnell said you also want to keep track of any email confirmations you receive.

It may be best to avoid sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. McConnell said if you see any popular toys or electronics posted they may not be real.

But don’t stop there, look into these companies and do your research before you give them your money.