INDIANA –Scammers are selling people fake or substandard car seats. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says the car seats can be purchased online at a significantly lower price than an authentic car seat.
“The promise of a great sale or price reduction is probably the number one hook for unsuspecting victims looking for a bargain. With car seats, the problem is that saving a few dollars could turn out to be dangerous for the child,” said Tim Maniscalo, BBB Central Indiana’s President and CEO.
Maniscalo said they were first notified about the scam by Indiana State Police.
“Fake or knock-off child safety seats may look safe, but they are not crash tested and maybe missing vital safety features,” said Sergeant Todd Ringle with Indiana State Police.
When the pandemic broke out in 2020, Hoosiers began shopping more online, so Maniscalo says cyber criminals started to adapt. Scammers are using phony websites to sell fake car seats at a low price.
“You may say to yourself, ‘I just found a deal. I’m going to buy this car seat,’ but when you get the car seat, it will not be up to the necessary safety standards,” said Maniscalo. “Be very careful, especially if you see a price that is too good to be true.”
If you do want to shop for a car seat online, Maniscalo recommends that you shop from a reputable retailer.
“Up in the url bar, you always want to look for the letters ‘https.’ ‘S’ is the important letter there because it stands for secure. That gives you some added assurance that that website has been registered. You want to also look for the little ‘lock’ icon in the url bar,” said Maniscalo.
He also recommends that you follow the guidelines for car seats put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They have a database on their website that shows reliable manufacturers.
“They have a fantastic website. You can go there and put in your child’s age, weight, and height. Then recommended car seats will come up that meet the necessary safety standards,” said Maniscalo. “That would be the first thing I would do before I go shopping for a car seat.”
You can also see what scams are happening near you by going to bbb.org/scamtracker. You can also check bbb.org for a company’s rating, reviews, and potential complaints.
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash