With the Christmas shopping season quickly approaching, the National Consumer Affairs Center is warning people to be careful when buying toys online in order to avoid being defrauded.

As of Monday, the agency said it had received 177 complaints about online toy purchases — an increase of 8 percent compared with the same time last year.

"As smartphones become increasingly popular, the number of problems surrounding online shopping is increasing," NCAC spokesman Yosuke Endo said.