As children are filling out their Christmas lists this season, many are wishing for a special toy of one of the main characters from the popular streaming series The Mandalorian.
The Child, better known as "Baby Yoda," is available as an animatronic doll at many toy retailers. However, since it is one of the seasons "must have" items, it's also the perfect target for fraudsters posing as legitimate sellers online, says the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
"In many cases reported to (the BBB), buyers thought they were ordering a high-quality, animatronic toy," the agency said in a release. "Instead, they received a cheap counterfeit version."
When customers tried to contact the seller, they soon found they couldn't reach them and couldn't secure a refund for the faulty product.
The BBB says it has already had a number of reports about counterfeit Baby Yoda toys as well as phony versions of a realistic toy dog.
"It was supposed to move and act like a real little dog," one of the BBB's reports says. "I wanted to get it for one of my great-granddaughters. When I received the dog in the mail, it was a small stuffed animal that you could get out of a machine at an arcade."
In another report about a Baby Yoda toy being sold for $80, the buyer soon found the item wasn't all it was supposed to be.
"It was supposed to be animated and make sound... When I finally got it, it is an ugly plastic hand puppet. I contacted them for a refund and an address to send it back. They say I have to pay for shipping, and it will be $26.00. And they will give me a 10 per cent refund."
The BBB says there are a number of ways consumers can protect themselves from these types of scams when they're shopping online:
- Take caution when you come across online ads and fake websites because they could hide software that could expose your personal information to criminals
- Focus on reputable stores and websites for your purchases and do your research, including looking up reviews if you don't recognize the seller
- Unreasonably low prices for popular items are a classic red flag when it comes to online shopping
- Make sure you know all the rules and restrictions before you complete your online order, including what to do if you want to make a return
- Always shop with a credit card to ensure each transaction can be tracked and to make it easier to dispute charges