FILE — Grad clothing scams are ramping up.

FILE — Grad clothing scams are ramping up.

Graduates and brides to be, don’t get scammed

BBB reminds you to do your homework when searching for the right dress for the occasion.

Whether you are a young woman soon to graduate from high school or a little further along in life and will be getting married this spring, one thing is certain, scammers will make counterfeit dresses claiming to be the real deal from famous design houses.

BBB reminds you to do your homework when searching for the right dress for the occasion and, of course, much of that searching will be done online.

Online purchase scams were the number one type of scam on this year’s BBB Top 10 Scams list. Further research done by Council of Better Business Bureaus indicates online purchase scams are, in fact, the riskiest scam targeting consumers in North America today.

“Demand for grad dresses or wedding dresses skyrocket this time of year,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Many people will be looking for top designers and top designers are exactly the kind of thing scammers like to copy.”

If a brand name item of clothing can be faked, it will be.

“One of the big concerns is private sales through places like Craigslist,” adds Kelly. “We’ve seen many occasions when it comes to fake designer clothing where the price should be twelve hundred and they are on offer for two hundred. If the price seems too good to be true then it probably is. Even if the fakers do miraculously deliver, the quality certainly won’t be what it should be.”

BBB offers tips to protect your grad and wedding dress money:

* Know the Website. Before ordering a dress, check the URL link to make sure it starts with https:// and the ‘lock’ icon is present. Check contact information. Make sure the site has listed a physical location and working phone number. Call customer service before you make the purchase. If you can’t reach a real person at a company, that is generally a red flag. Some popular sites such as Amazon and eBay allow third-party sellers to list items. Check the reviews of sellers to see how long they’ve used the site and how previous customers rated their purchasing experience.

* Read the Return Policy. Read the return policy carefully to see if the business or re-seller allows a full refund if the customer is not happy with the product. * Read and Compare. Check competitor prices to guarantee the lowest price. There are many online resources that allow the comparison of products and offer coupon codes to get a better deal. * Choose the Correct Payment Method. Always pay with a credit card when shopping online. If a company demands payment by money wire or pre-paid gift cards, run away.

* Private sales. Previously used items can certainly save money, however, never send money to someone you’ve never met. Use a third-party payment system like PayPal and use your credit card. See the dress in person, in a public place and bring a friend. If the price is too good to be true, it could be a scam.