Halloween can be a fun time. Crafty costumes, yummy snacks, and spooky events are staples of the holiday. Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) warns consumers to beware of scary scammers offering too-good-to-be-true treats which are really tricks.
Online party and costume retailers often offer sales on the latest and traditional costumes. Some even offer custom costumes that can be a little more expensive. When shopping online, watch out for scam websites dressed up like popular retailers. In particular, be cautious of social media ads that scammers run, making it appear that the sale offer is from well-known retailers, such as Spencer’s, Party City, and Spirit Halloween. They offer unearthly discounts, such as “90 off” last year's inventory, and even set up fake websites that look similar to the real websites, where customers may purchase Halloween costumes and décor. But it’s all a hoax. The scammers steal the consumers' money and send counterfeit items, a different inferior item, or nothing at all.
Fake ticket scams are also common during Halloween season. Scammers set up websites acting as third-party retailers, selling bogus tickets to popular events. Some customers aiming to score last minute tickets to an event have been swindled by schemers that add on extra commissions, driving the ticket prices up. Unfortunately for the customer, the tickets are counterfeit. Not only do they miss out on the event, but their money gets swiped by the scammers.
Before buying online, remember these tips:
- Check out any ads before making a purchase.
- Go to the retailer’s official website to verify the offer.
- Do an internet search using the business name and the word “scam” to see if anyone has reported suspicious or fraudulent activity with their order.
- Paying with your credit card has certain protections against fraud. You may be able to dispute the charge if you receive an item that isn’t as advertised or if you don’t receive your order.
- Buy any event tickets in advance from a trusted and verified retailer.
- Check your tickets carefully to make sure the date, time, and venue is accurate.
If you have problems with a retailer, contact your bank or financial institution to see what options are available to you. File a complaint with BCA. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.
About Business Consumer Alliance
Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.