Imposter on Craigslist hawks phony BBB consumer protections

    Consumer Reports News: June 19, 2009 03:28 PM

    The Better Business Bureau is warning that an imposter on the popular advertising Web site Craigslist is masquerading as a BBB-accredited business and telling prospective buyers that their purchases are protected by a BBB program that actually doesn't exist.

    Bureaus across the country have reported receiving complaints about ads for various products, including golf bags and strollers, under more than a dozen women's names. Those who respond to ads receive an e-mail that assures them the advertiser is accredited and that it participates in the BBB Protection Program, which would protect them should they not receive any items paid for on the advertiser's Web site.

    The BBB has no such program.

    The BBB says the advertiser has stolen its logo and images for use on various retail Web sites, at least one of which was still operating when we checked. The site, www.overstocksales.org, is based in China, according to domain registration records. BBB officials say they are working with Chinese authorities to take down the site, just as they did with an earlier site the advertiser had set up in the U.S.

    The advertiser also has created a fake BBB reliability report to misrepresent BBB accreditation and a "satisfactory" rating, the group said.

    The BBB said it hasn't received any information about whether people receive the products they order from the Web site.

    To avoid being scammed, don't rely on a BBB logo you see on a Web site. Instead, verify a company's BBB accreditation or rating by going directly to the BBB Web site.–Anthony Giorgianni


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