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Counterfeit BBB Scam

6 July 2005

Looking for a jet-ski or maybe searching for a new car online? Visited any online auctions or personals looking for a big-ticket item lately? If this sounds like you then you want to listen up.

There’s a new scam out there preying on those looking for more expensive items online. The scam that I am speaking of uses the Better Business Bureau logo and name to give potential victims a “Good Feeling” about the transaction that’s about to happen. Instead, the transaction doesn’t happen and that person is out some serious cabbage.

Here’s how the whole thing plays out. The attacker replicates legitimate auction items off any number of online sites and posts it like it’s for sale on their site. When a potential buyer attempts to pay for the item they get a reply saying that this transaction will be handheld by the “Better Business Insurance Program” which is described as the new BBB online payment system (it does not actually exist) . Next you get an email that appears to be an invoice from the BBB describing how they will hold the money until the transaction is complete and that you need to wire the money to some overseas bogus BBB account. Of course once this happens the war is over—the jet-ski you were looking forward to riding is never coming.

This to me is an obvious scam. I wouldn’t wire money to anybody I don’t know, especially overseas. Don’t let your eagerness get the best of you. Check out websites before you engage in any transactions. You may even want to go to the BBBonline and see what BBB has to say about the merchant. Check for the REAL BBB online reliability icon at any merchant site and click it to make sure it is for real. Try to contact the person direct either by email or preferably phone.

The BBB emphasizes that they…

DO NOT operate a “Better Business Bureau Insurance Service”, nor a “BBB Auto Buyers Protection Program”.

ARE NOT a “preferred insurance provider” for eBay or any other entity.

DO NOT manage financial transactions for online merchants.

DO NOT issue profiles or reports on individuals; BBBs report on businesses.

Stay safe out there,

~ Chad

Chad Stelnicki