Consumers Urged to Use Caution this Holiday Season and All year Long
Wallingford, CT – December 2, 2013 – As the end of the year approaches, Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about flourishing scams involving online commerce, and urging caution not only on Cyber Monday, but all year long.
Fake “Overstock” Sites
A number of phony websites have appeared using variations of the name of a legitimate site – overstock.com – some of which illegally use the BBB logo.
Among them are:
These sites are not affiliated with overstock.com, only allow payment by Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid card, and offer only an email address for contact information. Better Business Bureau has taken action to prevent sites like these from unauthorized use of its logo. Always check out a business, charity or website at www.bbb.org to check their reputation before making a purchase.
Online Classified Ads
Consumers who sell belongings on classified ad and auction sites should beware of phony payment “receipts.”
The buyer’s aim is to get the seller to ship an item without paying. In a typical scenario, the buyer offers to pay by PayPal, and sends a phony but authentic-looking PayPal email notice. The email contains a link to enter a shipping confirmation number, supposedly to enable a transfer of PayPal funds to the seller’s account. The link leads to a fake PayPal site that encourages the seller to log-in, the buyer captures the login and password and empties the account.
PayPal does not require a shipping tracking number to transfer funds and does not offer protection for purchases made on classified ad sites.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends:
1. When using PayPal, make sure you understand the terms and conditions
2. Do not use a link to log in to any financial account. Instead, go directly to the site, log in and ensure that the payment has cleared PayPal and is transferred to your bank or credit card account before shipping
3. Only use secure forms of payment, and avoid any site that will only accept a wire transfer or pre-loaded debit card
4. Use a credit card for online commerce. Debit/ATM cards do not offer the same protection, and if an unauthorized transaction occurs, consumers can dispute the charge with the credit card issuer, rather than fight to get money returned to the bank account linked to a debit card.
Consumers can find additional helpful tips and warnings at www.bbb.org.