It’s NFL Championship Sunday and, if you’re a football fan, you’ll likely be cheering on one of two teams to Super Bowl LIII. But before you spend a bunch of money on fan gear, increase the odds that you’ll get what you pay for by researching online retailers first.
The Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific is blowing the whistle on the website, www.SportsFansGoods.com, after dozens of consumers say they paid for NFL-branded merchandise but received phony imitations instead. In some instances, the goods are never received.
The business claims to be based out of Moro, Oregon, but is not registered with the Secretary of State and credit cards are being charged through an entity in Singapore. Sports Fans Goods has yet to answer communications from the BBB regarding these complaints. As a result, the BBB is issuing an alert and asking for additional victims of this scheme to file a report at www.bbb.org/ScamTracker.
When purchasing online it’s always a good idea to research retailers first through our website www.bbb.org. Read the online reviews and see if there’s been any complaints filed against them. Here’s a few additional steps you can take to better secure your transactions online:
• Think before your click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional hype.
• Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
• Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you didn’t approve. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
• Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click!
• Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records.
DAWN JOHNSON is marketplace manager of the Better Business Bureau, serving the Snake River Region from Ontario to Jackson, Wyoming. For more information, visit bbb.org or call (800) 218-1001.