SAN DIEGO — Last-minute back-to-school shopping is leaving some families desperate for deals on hard-to-find supplies.
First came supply chain issues, then inflation. And now there are new warnings for shoppers to avoid back to school scams.
“We usually try and stick with big names, Amazon, Target,” said Krista Mallon, East County mother.
The Better Business Bureau is warning shoppers about scams that include fake ads posing as big retailers such as Target and Walmart.
Cyber security experts said they've found over 2,000 domains using a variation of the Amazon name and that's not all of them.
Once you submit your credit card information, the con-artists have your money, and the fraudulent charges start racking up.
Tips to protect yourself
- To avoid falling for this scam, the BBB said make sure the website address has an “s” at the end of http with a lock icon in front of it.
- The BBB also recommends that you use your credit card and not debit card or a reputable online payments system that offers payment protection.
“I try and use PayPal when I'm not sure of because they will help you out and refund you,” said Mallon.
Scammers are also targeting college students by pretending to be the IRS or police on the phone and threatening to arrest them if they don't pay a student tax.
But this tax doesn't exist, and the IRS said it will not call to demand money in this specific form.
One more scam that sounds textbook, but victims still fall for it are phishing emails that say you've won a free shopping spree or missed a delivery.
The BBB recommends you do not click on any links because it could potentially corrupt your computer or phone with malware.
Remember, before you put anything in your cart, shop around and do your research.
Mallon said it's saved her a lot of money and headache.
“A lot of reviews, I read the reviews,” said Mallon.
To search for a company’s history and report a business to the BBB click here.
WATCH RELATED: Rock Thrift store helps you save money on school supplies while giving back to military communities