LITTLE ROCK, Ark — When shopping in-person what you see is typically what you get, but for the millions shopping online for the holidays this year, experts urge consumers to keep their guard up.
When Heather Scardina's son asked for an Xbox One this Christmas, she went to Facebook Marketplace hoping for a good deal. She considers herself a veteran online shopper and pretty tech savvy.
She spoke with the seller for a few days, discussed details, and even asked for a video showing the Xbox powering on. But once she picked up the device and took it home, there were some glitches in the plan.
"I get home and I hook it up, and the system does not show anything" Heather said.
She then discovered the video she got wasn't her Xbox One at all, but rather just a random video from the internet.
"Now I'm nervous, I mean, I lost out on money," Heather said.
But she's not alone. 2020, over $16 million was lost to scams in Arkansas alone.
To protect yourself this shopping season the FBI also shared some advice. "Never give out your personal identifiable information while shopping online. Always make sure that you are shopping off of a reputable site. Monitor your bank accounts while shopping online this holiday season," Jessica Franklin with the Little Rock office said.
On Facebook in particular you can look out for red flags, like a deal that's too good to be true, a seller's reviews, and making sure photos match the description correctly.
And Heather's advice for others shopping by screen this year?
"I would definitely make sure if you're purchasing something like that it's being shown to you in person, never just go by a video," she said.
But, in true holiday spirit this story does have a happy ending. A stranger heard Heather's story and offered to donate an Xbox for her kids this Christmas (just don't tell them!)