BBB warns of sports merchandise scams on Super Bowl Sunday

Published: Feb. 12, 2023 at 1:24 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Better Business Bureau is warning people about scammers looking to make a buck at a victim’s expense on Super Bowl Sunday.

The BBB said that one scam targets victims by advertising fake sports merchandise through a social media ad or quick web search. The links take a victim to an online scam store with photos and cheap prices that make the sports merchandise look believable.

Once victims submit their credit card information to the scam store, they receive a confirmation email.

According to the BBB, weeks can often pass, and the purchased items never arrive. Victims often attempt to contact customer service and quickly learn the company and its products don’t actually exist.

The Better Business Bureau released the below tips to avoid becoming the victim of a sports merchandise scam:

  • Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. If the price of an item, collectible or not, is significantly less than what it is on other well-known retailers’ sites, this is a red flag that it might be a scam.
  • Research the company before you purchase. If the company is unfamiliar, check to see if they have a BBB Business Profile or BBB Scam Tracker to see if anyone else has reported them as a scam. Look for contact information on the website, such as a phone number or brick-and-mortar address, as well as a robust social media presence to help determine if the company indeed does exist.
  • Never wire money or use a prepaid debit card as payment. Scammers often request both payment types, and once the money is gone, there is no way to get the money back. Instead, make online purchases with a credit card and only on secure (https) websites.
  • Double-check COAs: Certificates of authenticity (COAs) are the norm for memorabilia purchases, especially for costly items —so it’s likely that scammers will try to provide fake ones. A valid COA should state the qualifications and complete contact information of the issuer. Before you trust a COA, ensure it contains full and correct details on who issued it, and then make sure they’re a legitimate and reputable authority. If investing in a less expensive purchase that is not offered with a COA, the buyer should still request a written representation from the seller about the authenticity and origin of the item. It is also essential to establish and get a written statement about the item’s physical condition before you purchase it.
  • Take extra care at charity auctions: Some scammers target charities by providing “donations” of fake memorabilia. When considering a bid for an item at a charity auction, be vigilant and watch out for suspicious price valuations and shady authentications. When in doubt about an item, consider donating to the charity rather than an auction purchase.
  • Seek a money-back guarantee: If possible, work with a dealer who can guarantee a full refund of your purchase if you ever discover it’s a fraud. Check all terms and conditions of the sale, especially limitations, before buying the item.

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