Better Business Bureau: scammers using supply chain issues as new way to steal your money

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Many consumers have heard about the supply chain issues that may affect holiday gift items being available in the next month and it seems that scammers have as well.

“The fake websites come up every year so that’s nothing new but it’s just easier to get people hooked into it this year,” said Tom Stephens from the Better Business Bureau.

He says scams are always about getting your money but in 2021 the crooks are using the pandemic and the publicity about supply chain issues to their advantage.

“The scammers always take advantage of anything they can and this is just like a gift from heaven to have all the supply chain problems that we have and they can really hook on to those and get people to give them their money when they wouldn’t normally do it,” said Stephens.

He says look out for websites that promise you items you’re having trouble finding anywhere else. Stephens says if major retailers that have large logistic networks are having trouble getting certain things, be careful is an online website you’ve never heard of claims to have it and for a cheaper price.

“So if you have been looking for something and nobody has it and then you find somebody who has it and it’s cheaper than anybody else that’s a red flag,” said Stephens.

He says if you take the bait a scammer gets your credit card information and you’ll get nothing.

“When you realize a week before Christmas that your item hasn’t come in, you try to contact them and no one’s going to answer the phone and no one’s going to answer the email and the website’s closed down,” said Stephens.

He also advises when online to be careful about clicking on shopping links that you see on social media. He says if you find yourself on an unfamiliar website make sure you research the site and the company. If you have any doubts, don’t provide any credit card or personal information.

While millions of consumers do shop on line safely and many will do so this holiday, Stephens says just remember that if the supply chain is affecting large retailers, don’t believe a pitch that it’s not affecting some online site you’ve never heard of.

“It does give them a new wrinkle that they can take advantage of so we’ll probably see more scams this year than we have in the past,” said Stephens.

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