Don’t fall for the Christmas decorations scam

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The Better Business Bureau serving the Canton and Greater West Virginia area offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.

If you are planning to party with your Christmas or other holiday decorations, keep your eyes peeled for this scam. BBB Scam Tracker has received complaints about false advertising and false promises for holiday decorating.

How the scam works

You are looking for Christmas decorations for your house or your lawn. You come across the perfect item via a social media ad or search result. The photos on the site are superb! The decorations are larger than life with amazing lights and features and, most importantly, low prices.

You make your payment and wait for the decorations to arrive. However, when your package is delivered, the product is nothing like what you saw online. In many cases, this is a poorly made miniature version of what you thought you bought. You now have no way to return the items or receive a refund. In fact, you probably won’t even be able to contact the company.

One consumer reported the following experience: “I ordered a 7ft giant pumpkin head and a 7ft giant skeleton with LED eyes and sounds. What I finally got in the mail after almost a month were two 7 inch rubber dolls that sort of looked like what they were advertising. This company will not respond to their emails, which is the only means of communication. The items looked amazing online, but the store is a total scam.

How to Avoid Holiday Decorating Scams

Do your research before you buy. Before making a purchase from an unfamiliar website, consult with the company. Make sure they have working contact information. This should include a phone number, an email address, and preferably a physical address. Search other websites for company reviews and reports of scams. You can always search for business ratings and customer reviews on BBB.org.

Beware of offers that sound too good to be true. Keep in mind that large decorations that involve special lights and technology are expensive. If you find something amazing on the cheap, it could be a scam.

Don’t make quick purchases on social media. Fraudulent advertisers can track your buying habits from social media ads, then target you with specific products that they think you’ll fall for. Don’t buy anything on impulse when scrolling through your feed. Do your research first to avoid getting ripped off.

Always use your credit card for online purchases. Credit card companies allow you to dispute fraudulent charges, a resource you may not have available to you if you purchase an item with a debit card or gift card.

FOR MORE INFORMATION – Check out BBB’s tip: Shop Safely and Shop Smart this Holiday Season at www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/23348-shop-safe for more ways to protect yourself against scams during your holiday shopping. If you spot a scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others recognize a scam before they fall victim to it.

FOR BBB INFORMATION – Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to find a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Straight Talk: Don’t Fall For The Holiday Decorations Scam

About Eric Hudkins

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