Consumer Alert: Avoid Holiday Toy Scams

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Thousands of shoppers lined up at Walmart stores to buy Hatchimals Thursday.

There were similar scenes at Toys-R-Us stores Sunday as the retailer quickly sold out of a new stock.

Target announced it would be getting new shipments and selling them this weekend.

As with any hard to get holiday toy, the re-sale price for Hatchimals, the interactive egg that turns into a furry creature, has skyrocketed.

So, experts warn shoppers to be careful, because they could make a purchase that's truly costly.

WREG cameras actually captured video of a Hatchimal at a local Toys-R-Us store.

The moment was short lived however.

Technically, the products weren't even for sale, but Tammy Case wishes they were.

She's a mom with three, young girls and they all want Hatchimals for Christmas.

"What's your search been like, WREG asks?"

Case responded, "It's been a nightmare, there's none anywhere."

A parent's quest to find the hot, holiday toy can become quite an adventure, and it's nothing new.

Remember Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, the Furby?

Last year it was hover boards and Shopkins.

In addition, besides Hatchimals, a throwback Nintendo has made a comeback this year.

One grandmother told WREG she's stood in many lines over the years to get the hot holiday toy, "Because you want them to be happy and you want to see that face burst, those smiles."

But at what cost?

Consumers that don't find hot toys on store shelves should be careful where they shop.

The regularly priced Hatchimals ($59.99) are selling for hundreds through third parties, and even thousands with re-sellers and auctions.

"It's absolutely crazy," said Case.

Case says she's not going that route, because on top of the outrageous price, you may not get what you pay for.

"Some of the sites, they have already hatched the eggs and so they still want to sell it to you for $250 even thought it's already hatched."

Better Business Bureau President Randy Hutchinson says the cost can be much more serious.

Desperate buyers make themselves targets for scams.

He says consumers choosing a re-seller should check their history, and watch for red flags like odd payment methods.

"If it's an out and out scam, they may not take the credit cards, they may want you to wire the money, these days the crooks are asking you to pay with gift cards," said Hutchinson.

Case says she'll keep checking retailers like this Toys R Us. Plus, she's hatched a pretty, creative back up plan.

"If Santa isn't able to bring them to them then maybe we might get them at Easter when the Hatchimals lay new eggs!"

The BBB says consumers should also watch out for websites with limited contact information and be cautious with individual sellers on auction sites who ask to move the transaction elsewhere.


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