As the holiday shopping season kicks off this week, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a new scam surrounding pricey gaming consoles.
According to a news release, with the PlayStation 5 and other gaming devices in high demand, fake deals are appearing on the Internet showing the systems at a reduced price.
The scam reportedly works by showing a deal on a lesser-known website that has positive reviews, convincing customers to make a purchase via Paypal or another form of payment.
According to the BBB, if you receive a package at all from the website or company, it won't be that coveted PS5 or Xbox Series X, but instead will be an item of little value.
"Since you technically received a shipment, you will be unable to contest the purchase with the third-party who processed the payment," the BBB said.
One consumer who fell for a scam said they were unable to get in touch with the website they purchased their item from.
“I attempted to reach out to the email address on their website, however I received an email informing me that it was not a valid email address. I then attempted to call the phone number listed on the website, [which gave me] an automatic message informing me that the number was not valid.”
The BBB says to do these three things before buying a pricey console:
- Research the company you plan to purchase from thoroughly. It’s best to purchase items from sellers you already know and trust, but if you decide to purchase from an unfamiliar online store, do your homework first. Read as many customer reviews as you can find, look up the business on org, and do an online search with the company’s name followed by the word “scam” to see if you find any complaints. Make sure the company has legitimate customer service contact information (not just a form you have to fill out and hope for a response) and clear return and refund policies as well.
- Avoid impulse buying. Scammers like to draw people in with “flash sales” and “limited time offers” in hopes you will hand over your money on impulse. Resist the urge.
- Don’t believe prices that are too good to be true. Before you start shopping, find out the price of the gaming console at a major retailer. You can check prices online to get a general idea of what the console is selling for. Keep that price in mind as you shop and be wary of sellers who offer the product at a steeply discounted price. You could end up spending money on a defective or counterfeit product, or no product at all!