This football season and leading up to the holidays, many people are shopping online for sports team gear. Better Business Bureau has a warning for consumers, there have been reports of fake businesses advertising team gear and taking advantage of customers online.
"In one report to BBB Scam Tracker this month, a shopper attempted to make a purchase with www.seahawksofficialnflonline.com using PayPal, which was an advertised method of payment at the site. After placing the order, they were asked to pay via Western Union or Money Gram to speed up the order. Fortunately, the buyer became suspicious and reported it to BBB," said Dale Dixon.
Dixon says BBB investigated the site and sent a letter to the company's mailing address, only to have it returned by the post office.
"When we searched for the company's phone number, it came back associated with at least 10 other websites offering branded merchandise for professional hockey, football and baseball teams," Dixon said.
Dixon says impersonating real companies is easy for scammers.
"The site used logos to make it seem more legitimate, both of NFL teams and of BBB. The phony site even displayed a fake BBB Seal. To check if a company is truly accredited click on the blue BBB torch icon and you should be redirected to bbb.org to view the company’s business review," Dixon said.
If you are looking to buy team gear online, Dixon says be cautious. He offers these tips:
-Know the seller. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. Check out retailers at bbb.org before you shop.
-Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
-Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. One of the biggest red flags concerning the NFL store were the inexpensive prices. Know the official, licensed gear can be pricey.
-Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet and smart phone.
For more information and resources, visit bbb.org.