OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Better Business Bureau is warning of scams when buying online, especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping.
Technology like laptops and tablets has become a staple in education. But buying new technology in stores and online has become more of a challenge.
According to the BBB, shortages of some technology like computer chips could limit options available to consumers. When consumers can’t find these products from trustworthy retailers, they become more likely to encounter a scam.
Market research firm Deloitte says some of the driving factors in purchase decisions are price and quality. The BBB says scammers could target a desperate shopper with fake deals or exciting advertisements.
It’s recommended to follow a few tips from the BBB to avoid becoming a victim:
- Shop with familiar retailers. Laptops, tablets or other tech accessories can be a major investment. Shop with businesses you know and trust, to ensure you’re getting a quality product and good customer service.
- Don’t buy from impostors. Fraudsters may use the name, logo and other characteristics of brands you trust. Closely examine the website to verify that they are who they say they are.
- Approach low prices with caution. Low prices and short-term sales could be a sign you’ve encountered a scam. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Some companies rarely offer sales. Do more research if a company that rarely discounts products is offering a huge sale. The products may be used, refurbished, or it could be a fake website altogether.
- Know what you’re shopping for. Set a budget, identify what capabilities will benefit your student and compare your options. Then, shop around for a reliable seller. Researching the best product for your needs will help you avoid scams and buyer’s remorse.
- Ensure you know who the seller is. Some big box retailers allow third-party sellers to list items on their site, and those items can be hard to distinguish from the rest. Read all the fine print to ensure you’re comfortable with the seller.
- Finish your shopping early. Supply shortages are possible, especially as large numbers of consumers begin shopping for the same products. Do your shopping now to avoid paying higher prices or falling victim to a scam.
According to Deloitte, tech sales have driven up 37% year-over-year, partially due to the increase in digital learning tools.
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