The Better Business Bureau
warns online shoppers that some deals online for electronics are too good to be
true. BBB is advising shoppers to keep an eye out for five red flags of
unscrupulous consumer electronics stores. Not
all Web sites promising rock bottom discounts on electronics are legitimate and
consumers need to do their research when shopping online or they risk getting
ripped off by a scammer’s online store.
BBB recommends consumers
look for the following red flags when identifying suspect electronics Web
The prices for items are
too good to be true.
Everyone is looking for a bargain on electronics and scammers use tantalizingly
low prices to lure victims in. If the prices for items are well below those of
trusted competitors, it’s a sign to walk away.
Spelling and grammatical
errors abound. Some
phony electronics Web sites are created by scammers overseas. As a result, the
Web sites, or spam e-mails directing shoppers to the site, might have many
grammatical mistakes or spelling errors.
The business accepts
payment via wire transfer only.
Scammers often ask victims to wire payment through Western Union or MoneyGram
because the money cannot be easily tracked or retrieved in the case of fraud.
BBB recommends always using a credit card to pay for electronics online. If the
Web site turns out to be fraudulent, you can dispute the charge with your
credit card carrier and hopefully get your money back.
The business has a bad
rating with BBB. Always
review the business’s Business Review online at mwco.bbb.org
to find out what rating it has received from BBB. If you don’t find a BBB Business
Review, it doesn’t necessarily mean the business is fraudulent, but it may
indicate the business has not been around for long or has yet to develop a
track record with consumers.
The Web site
fraudulently uses security seals.
Scam websites will often display the seals from certification organizations
such as VeriSign, IQNet or TRUSTe without authorization or falsely claim to be
accredited by BBB. When shopping online you want to look for the seals of
trusted organizations and confirm that the business’s use of the seal is legitimate.
You can typically do this
by clicking on the seal which, if legitimate, will link you to a confirmation
page on the certifying organization’s site. BBB warns, however, that some
scammers have craftily created fake confirmation pages spoofing the real
certifying organization’s site so make sure you really have been redirected to
the legitimate site for verification by checking the Web address. Are you on
the Web site of the certifying organization? If not, the use of the seal is
likely unauthorized. Double check your conclusion by visiting the Web site of
the certifier to find their list of legitimate seal holders.
When shopping online for
electronics, always look for the BBB Accredited Seal—which shows that the
business upholds BBB’s rigorous standards for marketplace ethics—and then visit
BBB.org to confirm BBB accreditation.