BBB Warns Consumers About Hot Christmas Toy Scam

It’s the one thing parents dread most at the holidays: The List. Because there is always at least one popular-but-impossible-to-find toy every year that all the kids want.

This year it’s Fingerlings, the cute finger-puppet monkeys. Unfortunately, the fact that they have sold out in many stores has turned them into bait for scammers. Con artists are selling counterfeit Fingerlings or simply making sales they don’t plan to fulfill.

How the Scam Works:

You want to purchase Fingerlings for your kids or grand kids, but they seem to be sold out at every store you visit. Instead, you decide to search online. You come across a website, perhaps by clicking on a Facebook ad or other advertisement. The site may seem legitimate and feature images of the original toy. The company may even promise very fast shipping. However, many unscrupulous e-commerce sites have been scamming buyers.

According to BBB Scam Tracker, consumers report being unable to contact the company by phone or email when their order doesn’t arrive. “I sent 4 emails to them, no response. The phone number goes directly to a voicemail,” wrote one victim who hasn’t received the Fingerlings they ordered in October.

Others were shipped counterfeit or incorrect products and were unable to get a refund. One victim reported receiving toys “but they are NOT Fingerlings. They are "Funny Monkeys." And although they look like Fingerlings, they don't do much of anything but make annoying sounds.”

Tips to Avoid the Fingerling Scam:

Only purchase from reputable retailers. Knowing the seller is the best way to avoid getting scammed. It is best to buy products directly from the manufacturer or authorized re-sellers.

Beware of unreasonably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An extra low price, especially when toys are sold out at many well-known retailers, should be a red flag. Low prices are often a sign of counterfeit products.

Be cautious with your personal information. Don’t be quick to give out your name and credit card information to an unfamiliar company. First, call the provided customer service number to make sure it works and someone can answer your questions about products, payment and shipping.

Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See BBB.org/shoppingonline for more advice.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (BBB.org/scamtips). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/scamtracker).

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