PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Technology has become a major tool in education, but as students prepare to head back into the classroom this school year, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning back-to-school scams are popping up.
The BBB says tech sales are up 37% year over year, and as more and more people are buying these items online, more people are falling victim to scams. According to the BBB, the two factors driving people to make a purchase are quality and price, but with possible supply chain issues when shortages hit, consumers could be put in a risky position where they need products but can't find them available from trustworthy sellers.
This is when tech supply scams rise. Scammers will target tech shoppers with phony deals, enticing ads, and attractive but fake websites. The BBB offers tips to keep yourself safe when shopping for new tech products ahead of the new school year.
- 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 or refurbished, or it could be a fake website.
- 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.