Across America: Toy scams and planes in the water

Morning In America

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — “Morning in America” highlights communities from all across the country. Here are the top headlines you should know for Tuesday, Nov. 16.

Glen Allen, Virginia

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to avoid online scams ahead of the holidays.

Leslie Blackwell, with the Better Business Bureau representing Central Virginia, said the microchip shortage is leaving fewer toys on the shelves. As a result, product shortages are leading more people to shop for them online.

“We see a huge increase in online shopping because folks seem to think it’s a lot easier. Unfortunately, that’s where the scammers lurk,” Blackwell said.

Amber Manry, a Virginia resident, said she recently bought items off Amazon.

“I got an email saying my Amazon order was on hold because of an address problem. So then I clicked on that email,” she said.

Another website prompted her to type in her Amazon username and password, which gave her red flags.

“It looked a little off. It wasn’t amazon.com, and I noticed that it was basically a scammer,” Manry recalled.

Blackwell said toys like the PlayStation, Baby Yodas and Nintendo gaming system are the most popular items, and often sell out first. That’s when scammers swoop in with phony websites advertising lower prices.

Blackwell recommends checking to see if the retailer has any complaints by using the BBB scam tracker. She also recommends looking online for the company’s refund and return policy.

“Make sure that it says https; that’ll stand for secure in the URL in the box when you’re browsing,” Blackwell explained.

Manry said these are all tips that have helped her avoid becoming a victim of any other scammers.

“If I hadn’t looked at the email address, the sender address – I would’ve been scammed.”

Tampa, Florida

Two people are safe after their plane made an emergency landing in Florida, officials said.

According to the Tampa Police Department, the incident happened just after 10 a.m. Monday. The plane went down in Hillsborough Bay just 500 yards southwest of the Peter O. Knight Airport.

A TPD Marine Unit responded to the site of the splashdown and rescued one of the plane’s occupants. Another person was rescued by a seaplane that saw the emergency landing, police say.

Genesah Duffy is a Navy veteran and was piloting the seaplane. Duffy said she just happened to be three nautical miles from Peter O. Knight airport when she heard the problem developing over her radio.

“I hear over the radio for Peter O. Knight airport that a Mooney went down in the water, so I verified they are in the water? They landed in the water?” she recalled.

So she flew to the area to help.

“As I was overflying, I saw the plane already in the water, and then I saw the inflated life vests of one of the passengers who was already out of the water already. I circled one more time to see if there was anybody else. I noticed that it was just that group of people together, and so I decided to land to see if I could help,” she said.

When she landed, she could see one of the plane occupants was starting to struggle in the water without a life jacket.

“I landed, and then I kind of taxied up to them and they kind of grabbed onto the airplane. One of them didn’t have a life vest and I noticed he was already kind of tired, so I went half into the water and half out, and I put the life vest on him and inflated it,” Duffy said.

“Both of (men in the plane) were uninjured, and they are safe; both of them feel very, very lucky to be alive,” said Sandra Bentil, spokesperson for TPD.

Bentil said the pilot reported having engine issues leading up to the emergency landing.

TPD is now working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to get the submerged plane out of the water and back on land. An investigation is ongoing.

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