Better Business Bureau warns of scams involving Fingerlings, this year’s hard-to-get toy of choice

Abigail Silverlock, 9, plays with the Fingerlings toy during the unveiling of the annual DreamToys list compiled by an independent panel of retailers which predicts the top Christmas toys on show at St Mary's Church, in Marylebone, London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

Here’s a scam warning from the Better Business Bureau: Beware of Fake Fingerlings.

The cute finger-puppet monkeys are the hottest toy on Christmas lists across the country — that dreaded, almost-impossible-to-find item that all kids seem to want.

That kind of demand also turns toys like Fingerlings into tempting bait for scammers and con artists, the BBB says.

Some scammers are selling counterfeit Fingerlings, or simply making sales they have no plans to fulfill.

How the Scam Works:

You want to purchase Fingerlings for your kids or grandkids, but they seem to be sold out at every store you visit. So you decide to search online. You come across a website, perhaps by clicking on a Facebook ad or other advertisement. The site may seem legitimate and feature images of the original toy. The company may even promise very fast shipping. However, many unscrupulous ecommerce sites have been scamming buyers.

In the past two months, BBB Scam Tracker has received nearly 20 reports of Fingerling scams. Consumers report being unable to contact the company by phone or email when their order doesn’t arrive.

“I sent 4 emails to them, no response. The phone number goes directly to a voicemail,” wrote one victim who hasn’t received the Fingerlings they ordered in October.

Others were shipped counterfeit or incorrect products and were unable to get a refund.  One victim reported receiving toys “but they are NOT Fingerlings. They are “Funny Monkeys.” And although they look like Fingerlings, they don’t do much of anything but make annoying sounds.”

Tips to Avoid the Fingerling Scam:

  • Only purchase from reputable retailers. Knowing the seller is the best way to avoid getting scammed. It is best to buy products directly from the manufacturer or authorized resellers.
  • Beware of unreasonably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An extra low price, especially when toys are sold out at many well-known retailers, should be a red flag. Low prices are often a sign of counterfeit products.
  • Be cautious with your personal information. Don’t be quick to give out your name and credit card information to an unfamiliar company. First, call the provided customer service number to make sure it works and someone can answer your questions about products, payment and shipping.
  • Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See BBB.org/shoppingonline for more advice.