Around Acadiana

May 7, 2013 3:41 PM by MELISSA CANONE

BBB of Acadiana alerts consumers to "Overstock" websites

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana joins several BBB's across the U.S. dealing with a rash of complaints about websites claiming to offer great bargains on a variety of items.

These sites advertised on Craig's List and people would be directed to websites using the word "overstock" in the web address.

These sites had nothing to do with "Overstock.com," a legitimate company.

We also have reports from consumer saying that some of these retail websites are falsely using the BBB logo and giving themselves and A+ rating.

The BBB of Acadiana has recently received calls on one of these scam sites, including overstockclearanceoutlet.com, as several BBBs across the U.S. have been looking into these sites, which only accept GreenDot MoneyPak cards.

These sites have also garnered attention from the FBI through the BBB of Louisville.

According to a BBB of New Jersey report, "(overstock websites) offered elliptical and BowFlex machines and Honda EU2000I generators at deeply discounted prices.

After the money was picked up via GreenDot, all email contact ceased with no product delivered."

Acadiana consumers have reported being directed to these sites through listings on Craigslist.com. The site is www.overstockclearanceoutlet.com, and like other sites, it is falsely claiming to be BBB Accredited with an A+ rating.

A growing trend of these websites are popping up nationally and targeting local markets.

They piggyback off of the idea of a well-known, discount site called Overstock.com, but are not to be confused with it.

The websites show an address (city, state) in the home state of the "so-called business" target market and a phone number but no physical address is ever mentioned.

When consumers perform a Google search or call the BBB for information, the business does not exist in any reputable database and is not listed with the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB offers the following tips to avoid being taken by this or similar scams:

  • Be aware! Always check a business's BBB Business Review before agreeing to do business with them, especially one that you cannot visit in person.
  • If you are a victim of this scam, contact the BBB, the Federal Trade Commission and your local Attorney General. With enough information, they can track the fraudster down, put their scheme out of commission and pass laws that make it harder for them to repeat such schemes.
  • Be careful when using GreenDot MoneyPak cards. If you share the numbers on the back of the card, then that person immediately has access to the funds on the card, making this method of payment a favorite of scammers.

The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.

Acadiana residents can now have BBB information in the palm of their hand with the official BBB Search app, a convenient, mobile BBB solution available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The app can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bbb-search-find-local-businesses/id440014505?mt=8.

Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Better-Business-Bureau-of-Acadiana/128753980500452?fref=ts .

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