DAYTON – During the pandemic, many people are spending more time online, including using the internet to shop for needed things.
Unfortunately, scammers are trolling the internet as well to find their next victims. They are peddling everything from clothing, health and beauty, home décor, kitchen/storage and cleaning products.
The Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and the Miami Valley has seen a rise in the number of shady operators setting up online stores, taking victims’ money and never providing the products ordered.
In fact, BBB serving Dayton/Miami Valley statistics found:
• There has been an increase of 210 percent in reports to Scam Tracker when comparing the first six months of 2019 (10 reports) to the first six months of 2020 (31 reports) about online shopping scams, which is higher than the percentage increases for the state and the US overall.
BBB Scam Tracker is an online tool that enables consumers and businesses to report scams in an effort to prevent others from falling prey to similar cons. The tool collects and presents scam data in a searchable online “heat map,” showing users the number and types of scams and hoaxes reported in their communities. This number is believed to be on the low side as many of these scams go unreported.
• The number of complaints filed with the local BBB also has increased about 70 percent for online retail and online shopping over the same period of time. During the first six months of 2019, there were 125 complaints compared to 213 during the first six months of this year.
Through the years, BBB has found online shopping scams typically charge up front for products through credit or debit cards. However, shoppers never receive the ordered products and the alleged businesses fail to communicate. They often aren’t what they seem to be.
For instance, BBB recently received 12 complaints about Onvims/Orksou Store, which claims to be located in Springfield. Consumers said they ordered products from the online store but never received them and the business was not communicating with them.
The BBB’s investigation found Onvims website was relatively new, created in April 2020, with an IP address location in Florida, but the registrant is located in California. The Onvims site went inactive on July 23, but a new one opened for Orksou using the same Springfield address. This time, the IP address location is in California, but the registrant information is located in Florida. There’s no registration for either company with the Ohio Secretary of State.
The BBB has been unable to email or call either business successfully. However, it did receive an email from the resident of the Springfield address being used on both business’ websites. She has never heard of the businesses nor do they operate out of her home.
Likewise, BBB recently received 27 complaints about Luvrosy.com, which sells women’s clothing. The majority of these complaints are about delays in shipping and when the items do finally arrive, they’re not what was ordered, a shoddy version of the items ordered or the products aren’t received at all. This online retailer allegedly uses an address of a warehouse in Moraine, but the BBB’s investigation found the company was actually located in China. The company also is not registered with the Ohio Secretary of State.
BBB offers the following tips to protect yourself from online shopping scams:
• Do your research before you purchase. Read reviews and see if others have had a positive or negative experience with the site. Verify the company’s location and contact information.
• Use secure websites. Look for https:// in the URL for secure transmission of your personal information, as well as a locked padlock on the purchase or shopping cart page.
• Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly.
• Beware of rock-bottom prices. If a website offers something that looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Compare prices and pictures of merchandise on similar websites.
• Keep documentation of your order. Save receipts and a copy of the confirmation page or email of your purchase until you receive your items and are satisfied.
• Stick with who you know. Consider doing online business only with retailers you trust and have shopped with before.
Online retailers provide an effective and easy way to shop, but it’s important to remember not all retailers are as they appear. BBB can help consumers find trustworthy businesses. Visit www.BBB.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301 to get lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in specific industries, business profiles on companies, as well as check out customer reviews on businesses.