PEORIA, Ill.–The Better Business Bureau released a study about the rise in counterfeit products sold in online retail.
The BBB says that 8/10 Americans shop online, and it has found that many scammers have websites that appear to be professional and reputable and whose products look like they are high quality, but in reality the product is cheap and not what the customer wanted at all.
“Consumers are outraged when they have taken the time to do business with a company and they’re left holding the bag,” said Better Business Bureau Serving Central Illinois President/CEO Jessica Tharp.
With social media becoming more and more prevalent, scammers are finding new ways to steal shoppers’ money.
“People use social media all the time and so we’ll see sponsored ads for great looking products for a great price but it will leave consumers really disappointed,” Tharp said.
Tharp says the BBB can serve as a resource for customers who are unsure if a business is legitimate.
“Consumers have to be vigilent, and the way you do that is to check out the company. You can use the Better Business Bureau, we’ll tell you what we know, who they are, and where they’re located. If we know what kind of return policies they have, that’s really important when you’re doing business with someone that you haven’t done business with before. What if this goes wrong?” said Tharp.
Tharp says to never given an online retailer your checking account information or your social security number, and that if you use a credit card and get scammed, it’s easier for your bank to return your money than if you use a debit card.
In the past three years the BBB has received more than 2,000 complaints from customers who have received counterfeit items. 88 percent of these counterfeit items come from China.