Safe Families

Jun 10, 2013 3:42 PM by MELISSA CANONE

BBB of Acadiana warns of online retail scams

With the advent of major internet retail sites such as eBay and Amazon, it has become more and more common for savvy consumers to shop online for great prices on everything from books and tools to electronics.

But scammers have also noticed this established and growing retail trend and have begun using fake internet shopping sites to run scams by creating fake retail sites offering everything from cameras and televisions to generators at drastically reduced prices.

They have begun creating fake retail sites offering everything from cameras and televisions to generators at drastically reduced prices.

But they only accept payment via untraceable GreenDot MoneyPak cards or Amazon gift cards; and after they receive the money, they are gone, leaving the consumer with nothing but the loss of hard-earned funds.

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is warning consumers of this scam in the wake of one scam website,, which claimed its home address to be in Lafayette.

The full BBB Business review on can be found at:

One consumer said he found, one online retail scam site recently investigated by BBB, online after doing a Google search for a new TV.

The consumer said the site advertised the purchase could be made with a major credit card, but when he checked out, he was directed to purchase an Amazon Gift Card with his credit card, then paid for the purchase with that.

He said that by making purchases this way, their credit cards could not give refunds and Amazon had no way to track how or where the gift card funds were spent, as their records only had a name, which could easily be falsified. The purchase was never delivered.

One tell-tale sign of a scam retail site is if it advertises that it accepts major credit cards, but upon checkout, buyers are directed to an unsecured site that instructs them to use their credit cards to purchase gift cards to complete the transaction.

During the BBB investigation of the scam company, it was discovered the address scammers claimed in Lafayette that was actually occupied by a legitimate business that had no knowledge of the fake site. This was confirmed with the real business owner by BBB staff.

Shortly after BBB received two complaints on this business from consumers who paid for electronics that were never delivered, the website was pulled down.

But from past BBB experience, it is likely the scammers will create new websites with a new name to continue the scam. Therefore, BBB offers the following tips to avoid this and similar scams:

Check a site's security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with "https://." You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right hand corner of the screen or near the address bar.

Shop trustworthy websites. Look for the site's BBB Business Review at

Pay with a credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you don't receive an item. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are any unauthorized charges on the card, and many card issuers have zero-liability policies if someone steals and uses your card number.

Never pay by untraceable means. If a retail site asks you to pay for a purchase via an untraceable means such as wiring money, using gift cards or a GreenDot MoneyPak card, do not make the purchase.

Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page of an order or emails confirming the order until you receive the item and are satisfied.

Know your rights. Federal law requires that orders made by phone, mail or online be shipped by the date promised or within 30 days if no delivery time was stated. Consumers also may reject merchandise if it is defective or was misrepresented.

BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.



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