Laptop scams on the rise as back-to-school shopping starts, says Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to watch out for back-to-school shopping scams, especially cheap laptops.

Buyers should approach low prices with caution and do their research

Many back-to-school shopping lists this year include a new laptop. The Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers about the prevalence of online computer scams. (Jenny Kane/The Associated Press)

The Better Business Bureau is warning back-to-school shoppers about online computer scams, given that many shopping lists this year include laptops.

Southern Alberta bureau president and CEO Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen says fraudsters are very good at posing as reputable retailers. 

She says people should approach low prices with caution as well as shop with retailers they know.

"Scammers and fraudsters, they're getting very clever all the time," she said. "So make sure that you're looking at the website to see that you're actually buying from who you think you're buying and making sure that you're clear on the payment terms."

Supply chain delays resulting from the pandemic may cause some parents and students to rush into buying, O'Sullivan-Andersen says.

"One thing that we know is that when you're going to purchase something right now, there's going to be delays. And so we want people to make sure that you're shopping early," she said.

"Putting in a little bit of extra time right now to do your research and do your shopping would really pay off in the long run."

Tips for laptop buying

In a release, the Better Business Bureau listed the following tips for consumers when purchasing technology:

  • Shop with familiar retailers to receive quality product.
  • Closely examine the seller's website to verify they are who they say they are.
  • Approach low prices with caution.
  • Do more research if a company that rarely discounts products is offering a huge sale.
  • Research the best product for your needs to help avoid scams.
  • Read all the fine print to ensure you're comfortable with the seller. Some big box retailers allow third-party sellers to list items on their site.
  • Do your shopping now to avoid paying higher prices or falling victim to a scam.

If you come across an online scam, the BBB asks that you report it on its ScamTracker website.

With files from Rick Donkers


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