Tips for buying safely as scammers looking to take advantage of product shortages

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Supply chain issues and mail delays are pushing more people to start holiday shopping early, but the Better Business Bureau is reminding people to shop safely and intelligently so you don’t become a victim of a scam.

Popular gift items that are typically out of stock due to high demand can be even more difficult to find due to shortages.

The crooks take the opportunity to set up bogus websites and offer these items for sale when they don’t really have them.

“You really want to make sure you’re dealing with reputable companies and retailers, so you know you’re getting legitimate products that will be what you want or what the person on your list wants,” Julie Wheeler, President and CEO from the management of BBB Serving Western Virginia, said.

Some red flags to look for to see if a website is bogus include checking for grammar errors, looking up the age of the domain, and looking up contact information.

Online shopping scams accounted for almost 40% of all scams reported to the BBB last year. Experts say it could get worse this year as crooks seek to take advantage of supply chain issues and product shortages.

Wheeler says if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“I also caution you from clicking any links in social media that maybe look like something you were looking at on another site and all of a sudden it shows up on your social network, and that’s a business name you’ve never heard of. You have no idea where you are going, ”she added.

Another great tip when shopping online is to use a credit card, as there is a higher chance that you can get your money back if you are scammed.

The Better Business Bureau has resources where you can report a situation to the site’s scam tracker to help other people get scammed.

Here are some other tips from the BBB for your holiday shopping:

Know what products stores might be missing.

Millions of everyday products use microchips to function. Computers, gaming systems, smart devices, cameras, and toys with light, sound, motion, or any kind of technology all use microchips, which means that many manufacturers are already struggling to understand. meet the demand for their products. Think about your vacation list and identify the must-haves that are affected by the shortage.

Start shopping earlier than usual.

Don’t wait until Black Friday to start your holiday shopping this year. Some products could already be sold out by November, according to some retailers.

When you find a good deal, don’t wait to buy.

Bargains will be harder to find this year, so if you find a product in stock at a good price, take advantage of it now.

Budget your holiday shopping without expecting sales.

Supply chain issues mean that many retailers have had to pay more than usual for inventory and cannot offer the same bargain prices as last year. In fact, the price of many products using microchips has already gone up, so plan your budget accordingly. It could mean buying fewer gifts or having a secret Santa Claus-style gift exchange.

Have a backup plan.

Since many household items use microchip technology, some retailers have already ordered products until 2022. Try to stay flexible this year. If you absolutely can’t get a gift you had in mind, you might need a plan B. For example, if the toy you wanted for your kids isn’t available or too expensive, keep it safe. mind that current shortages only affect certain types. of gifts. Soft toys, outdoor toys and action figures without electronic features are expected to remain in stock and reasonably priced this year.

Buy local.

Support small businesses. Get out of the holiday gift box this season and offer a service or gift cards to local businesses in our area to avoid unnecessary item purchases this holiday season.

You can find more “Buy Safely, Buy Smart” tips here.

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