Better Business Bureau warns consumers of ‘going out of business’ online shopping scam

DETROIT – The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about an online shopping scam involving “going out of business” advertisements.

Melanie Duquesnel, president of the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Michigan, said the difficulty they’re finding is that clients are not getting the product but yet they’re getting charged for it.

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“Just because an advertisement is on Facebook doesn’t mean that it’s a 100% trustworthy business,” Duquesnel said.

The BBB recommends doing your research before you buy anything online, search a company to see if others have complained, look up reviews and always pay with a credit card, that way if there is a problem you can dispute the charges.

With more people buying cars, RVs and boats online, the BBB says vehicle shipper and escrow scams are going up.

According to the BBB, websites like Craigslist are full of ads for low priced vehicles.

One red flag there is a problem is that a seller claims they need to sell a vehicle fast because of a military deployment, a divorce or death of a family member. The scam works when people wire money for the vehicle but then the purchased item is never delivered.

“You need to make sure that who you’re buying it from is reputable,” Duquesnel said.

Duquesnel recommends seeing and touching a vehicle in person before handing over any cash.

“How do you know that it runs well? How do you know that you’re going to get your money back?” Duquesnel said. “How long of a period of time do you have until you can return it?”

The Better Business Bureau says it expects losses to this vehicle scam to total $1.1 million in the U.S and Canada before the year is out.

For the full BBB study on the vehicle shipper and escrow scam, click here.

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