Beware of toy scams this holiday


By John North

Better Business Bureau

Toys are one of the most shopped for gifts for the holidays. According to Statista, revenue in the toys and games market amounts to $38.51 billion in 2023. It’s only expected to grow annually by 3.75 percent between 2023 and 2028. If you plan to be among those buying toys this year, make sure you’re on the look-out for scams.

Toy scams happen when scammers target you with ads and online messages to draw you to their sites with the toy that’s sold-out everywhere else. Often, the toy is deeply discounted. The purchase is completed within a few minutes and you receive a cheap knockoff that doesn’t work or quickly breaks. Some never receive the toy at all. Others reach out to customer service who don’t respond or refuse to send a refund.

Before you buy any toy, do your research. The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:

· Research the seller. Check out the website and make sure it’s legit. Look at buyer reviews.

· Buy toys from reputable stores and websites.

· Shop on secure websites. Make sure the URL starts with “https” and includes a lock symbol. The S in “https” stands for secure.

· Avoid making a purchase from a retailer you aren’t familiar with just because the price sounds too good to be true.

· Don’t procrastinate. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to not find what you need.

· Inspect the toy to make sure it isn’t broken and is in good condition before buying, if possible.

· Protect your personal information and don’t give it to strangers.

· Save your receipts and use a credit card for payment. If there’s a problem with your purchase, you may be able to dispute charges.

Remember, fraudulent toys haven’t been vetted with safety tests and verified to comply with US toy safety standards.

If you’ve been a victim of a toy scam, report the matter to the Federal Trade Commission,, and BBB Scam Tracker, BBB can also provide lists of BBB Accredited toy companies or Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Visit or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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