Super Bowl LIV is set, which means if you are a Kansas City Chiefs or a San Francisco 49er’s fan you are pumped and gearing up for the big face-off. What better way to show your support than deck yourself out in your team’s gear? But as kickoff approaches, beware of online sites that offer “official” merchandise at unbelievably low prices.
Better Business Bureau has received several reports in recent years of scam websites that con people out of their money. According to BBB Scam Tracker, these sites often display great deals and fast shipping, which seems appealing. But it’s a red flag if you are shopping on an online store or boutique that’s unfamiliar to you.
When ordering, the site may seem legitimate with great photos and prices. The good vibe continues when, after placing an order and being charged, you might even receive a confirmation email. But weeks pass, the Super Bowl is long over and your game day jersey is nowhere to be found.
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Consumers described their experience to the BBB saying the frustrating part comes when they go back to the confirmation email and try to get in contact with customer service. There often is no number to call and the website is deactivated. Or if, by chance, you receive an email response, they often are in poor English offering various reasons why the purchase still hasn’t shipped. In most cases, the order never shows up.
These deals are enticing, but the best way to avoid losing money is to stay wary of deals that seem too good to be true. If the price of an item is significantly less than what it is on other well-known retailers’ sites, this is a red flag that indicates a possible scam.
Also, take a minute and research companies you haven’t dealt with before. Check BBB.org to see if they have a BBB Business Profile, or BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has reported them as a scam. Also, never wire money or use a prepaid debit card as payment. Both payment types are often requested by scammers and, once you’ve paid, there is no way to get your money back. Instead, make online purchases with your credit card and only on secure (https) websites.
To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips at BBB.org/scamtips. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.
Jeremy Johnson is the eastern Idaho marketplace manager for the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific.