SPOKANE - The Better Business Bureau is waring Seattle Seahawks fan about a fake websites advertising inexpensive sports gear, but not following through with the orders.
In one instance a consumer reported the BBB saying they 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 process.
"Fortunately, the buyer became suspicious and reported it to BBB,” officials said. “ The company site claims the business is in White City, Ore., but BBB investigators determined that to be untrue."
Investigators sent a letter to the company’s mailing address only to have it returned by the U.S. Postal Service as "No Receptacle." Additionally, a search for the businesses phone number found it was associated with at least 10 other websites offering branded merchandise for professional hockey, football and baseball teams.
"Creating a fake online store is a common trick,” officials said.
The BBB offers the following tips to shop safely online:
- Know the seller. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. 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.
- Look for the Seal. The NFL gear store used a fake BBB Seal on its website. 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.
- Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL 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 flag concerning the NFL store were the inexpensive prices. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true —it might just be.
- 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.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a scam should contact their local law enforcement and report it to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.