Media contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE, Fellow PRSA (704) 927-8617 office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you didn't get a new tech toy for Christmas, you may be in the market for one in the new year. The Better Business Bureau warns shoppers that many deals online for electronics are too good to be true.
Some retailers will make deep price cuts, particularly on electronics, to lure in shoppers.
Unfortunately, not all websites promising rock bottom discounts on electronics are legitimate and consumers need to do their research when shopping for electronics online.
“Consumer electronics never go out of season,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.
“Everyone will be looking for the best price and scammers know that they can take advantage of that by using low prices to trick you into buying.”
The BBB advises you to look for these five red flags to spot scam electronics sites:
1) Prices are too good to be true. If the prices for items are well below those of trusted competitors, walk away.
2) Spelling and grammar. Many phony electronics websites are created by scammers overseas and you can spot them because they usually contain spelling and grammar mistakes.
3) Payment via wire transfer or pre-paid debit card only. Scammers often ask victims to pay with a pre-paid debit card or to wire payment through Western Union or MoneyGram because the money cannot be easily tracked or retrieved in the case of fraud.
The BBB recommends always using a credit card to pay for electronics online.
If the website turns out to be fraudulent, you can dispute the charge with your credit card and you may get your money back.
4) Bad BBB rating. Check out the business’s BBB report online before you buy. It takes less than two minutes.
5) Fraudulent security seals. Scam websites will often display the seals from certification organizations such as VeriSign, IQNet or TRUSTe without authorization or they may falsely claim to be accredited by the BBB.
When shopping online, you want to look for the seals of trusted organizations and confirm that the business’s use of the seal is legitimate.
You can typically do this by clicking on the seal which, if legitimate, will link you to a confirmation page on the certifying organization’s site.
For more information, please visit BBB or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.