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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 5, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , counterfeit goods, ,   

    Brushing scam sends luxury knock-offs 

    Brushing scam sends luxury knock-offs

    By Greg Collier

    If you’re unfamiliar with the brushing scam, it’s when a seller or a third-party vendor creates fake customer accounts on an online marketplace like Amazon. The scammer then ships inexpensive or sometimes completely worthless items to the addresses associated with those fake accounts. The scammer can then leave positive reviews from the fake accounts, boosting their seller rating and improving their visibility on the platform. This can lead to increased sales and higher rankings in search results, thereby tricking other buyers into thinking the seller is trustworthy.

    Sometimes, the items sent to consumers don’t even match the item the scammers are reviewing. They just need to make it appear as if the consumer received one of their items, so they can claim it was a verified purchase. Consumers used in a brushing scam tend to receive low-value and lightweight items to make the scam affordable for scammers. However, in Chicago, residents there are receiving some unusual goods.

    According to news reports, Chicago area residents have been receiving fake luxury items which they didn’t order. The example used in the news report was a counterfeit Cartier ring, complete with a ‘certificate of authentication’. The Federal Trade Commission has remarked that other items have been sent as well, like a counterfeit Burberry scarf. But the FTC would also like to remind us that no one is going to send the authentic items to people for free.

    While the brushing scam may seem like a victimless crime, it really isn’t. If the scams are successful, the algorithms sites like Amazon use will recommend these shady sellers instead of legitimate ones. In turn, this leads to consumers getting inferior products. Not only that, but there is also a security risk involved. While you can legally keep the items sent to you, it may mean that one of your retail accounts may have been compromised. If you receive one of these unsolicited packages, log in to your retail account and make sure it wasn’t charged to you. Even if it wasn’t, you should change your password and enable two-factor authentication on your account.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 6, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, , , sports betting, ,   

    Super Bowl scams for 2023 

    Super Bowl scams for 2023

    By Greg Collier

    Whether you’ll be going to the big game in Phoenix this year, or watching from home with friends and family, there are a number of scams surrounding this Sunday’s Super Bowl to look out for.

    If you’re looking for Super Bowl or NFL merchandise, be wary of bootlegs. We’re not just talking about that one stand that shows up in an abandoned parking lot every year, either. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that many online scammers will be trying to get consumers to buy counterfeit apparel. While others just won’t ship anything at all. Items like football jerseys should be inspected before purchase due to their price. If you’re looking for a Jersey for Sunday, you might be better off picking one up at a brick and mortar store if you want it to last.

    With online sports betting seeing a resurgence in recent years, some may be thinking about putting some money down on the game. However, there is no end to the number of websites that will try to take your money in some pretty crooked ways. Once again, the BBB is offering advice about being taken advantage of by shady websites or apps. One of the most common scams is when a sports betting platform won’t let you cash out. In many instances, the scam sites will tell you that you need to pay more money to get your winnings.

    Many state gambling commissions have a list of approved sports betting sites listed on their websites. Always avoid any pop up ads or spam from betting sites, as it’s pretty good odds they’re trying to swindle you. And as always, never bet more money than you can afford to lose.

    Lastly, if you have plans to make it to Phoenix, but still need tickets, be careful of buying counterfeit tickets. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is reminding Eagle’s fans to be careful who they buy tickets from. Super Bowl tickets are all electronic, but still can be faked. Stick to authorized ticket vendors and never pay for tickets using gift cards, money orders, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. Any vendor that asks for payment in those forms will probably not send you any tickets. And if they do, those tickets will be fraudulent.

    No one wants to show up to this once-in-a-lifetime event only to be turned away at the gate.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, , ,   

    ‘Tis the season for ticket scams 

    By Greg Collier

    The rivalry between Ohio State University and the University of Michigan is probably the most storied and heated rivalry in college football. Both teams are set to play each other this weekend in Columbus. Even at this late hour, tickets are still in high demand. That’s why the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio is warning sports fans about ticket scams.

    One of the most prevalent ticket scams are counterfeit tickets. They look and feel like the real thing because they were at one point. Scammers will use stolen credit card information to buy tickets to in-demand events. Once the credit card holder finds out and cancels the charge, it’s too late because the scammer already has a physical ticket.

    At this point, the scammer sells the canceled ticket to an unsuspecting fan. Once the fan shows up to the arena, they’re denied entrance because their ticket has been flagged as being fraudulent. So, not only is the fan out of the money they paid for the ticket, but also traveling and parking expenses too. In some cases, that can add up to thousands of dollars.

    Probably the most common ticket scams is the one where the tickets don’t even exist. Scammers will put up ads online claiming they have tickets and will then ask to be paid through apps like Venmo, Zelle, and Cash App. Once someone pays what the scammer is asking, the scammer will disappear with their money as these app transactions are instant, and the scammers can block you after you pay.

    This doesn’t just apply to sports, either. Any show or event that issues tickets can have the same problems with scammers. To better protect yourself, buy tickets only from authorized sellers and resellers. Use a credit card when possible for buying tickets. Credit cards give you extra protection when making purchases like this.

    Lastly, do not post pictures of your tickets on social media once you get them. This makes it easy for counterfeiters to copy the bar code from your tickets and produce copies they can sell.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , counterfeit goods, , ,   

    Don’t get scammed shopping for the must-have toys 

    Don't get scammed shopping for the must-have toys

    By Greg Collier

    We didn’t want to start talking about Christmas shopping yet, either. But if you want to get one of the must-have toys of the season for your kids or your grandkids, you probably want to get a jump on things now. Plus, it’s better to be aware of how the scams work now before it’s too late into the holiday season.

    Scammers love to take advantage of items that are in high demand. If they’re not scalping the item for an exorbitant mark-up, they’re selling knock-offs, or not selling anything at all.

    When items are in high demand, scammers will set up websites that look like they’re a legitimate marketplace where you can buy these items. They’ll often advertise the items at below-market value to entice customers to their website, typically on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest is where you’ll usually find these ads.

    If you go to one of these websites thinking you’re getting a deal on these toys, you’ll be mistaken. What typically happens is either the scammers will send you a cheap imitation of the toy you’re looking for, or they’ll take your money and disappear.

    There are ways to protect yourself from these Grinches. Try to stick to reputable and known retailers. If you think you’ve found a deal from an unknown retailer, do a Google search on the name of the retailer along with the words ‘scam’, ‘complaints’, and ‘reviews’. This should give you a good indication if the retailer is legitimate.

    You should also do a whois search on the retailer’s domain name. This should let you know when the website was created and where it’s located. You’ll probably want to avoid any retailers from overseas.

    Even if you’re using a reputable retailer’s website, be on the lookout for third-party sellers. On the item’s listing, it should tell you who the item is being sold by. Again, do a Google search on the company to check for complaints.

    Lastly, always use a credit card when buying online if you can. Credit cards offer more protection than other forms of payment that can be used online, and it will be easier to dispute a transaction if you’ve been scammed.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, , , , , poshmark,   

    Luxury platforms encounter same old scams 

    Luxury platforms encounter same old scams

    By Greg Collier

    If you’ve never heard of Poshmark, it’s an online marketplace that deals in designer clothes and items. It’s similar to eBay since Poshmark’s users can both buy and sell designer goods. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Poshmark, but with any online marketplace, Poshmark is not immune to scammers.

    A victim of a Poshmark scam recently went viral on TikTok for her video detailing how she was scammed. She had found a Chanel purse on Poshmark and bid $400 for it. Typically, Chanel purses like the one she found go for ten times that amount. The victim states that should have been a red flag, but often people will sell items like this at a steep discount just to clean out their closets.

    Her bid was accepted, and she waited for her purse to arrive in the mail. She gets a notification from the post office stating her purse had been delivered, but the purse did not arrive. She notifies Poshmark who allegedly told her that their records say the purse was delivered, so she would need to contact the United States Postal Service, which she did. USPS showed her a scan of the package. The package did not have her address but an address nearby. What was received at the incorrect address was just an empty envelope. The scammers had changed the address to something nearby to show the package was delivered by the post office. They were probably hoping that the victim would think that their package was stolen from their mailbox.

    This is not too dissimilar to a PayPal scam we’ve posted about in the past. In the PayPal scam, phony vendors will promise a popular product at a steep discount. Victims will receive some cheap product that they didn’t order. When victims have tried to argue with PayPal, in some instances, they’re told the package has been delivered to they can’t refund the payment.

    On platforms like Poshmark, consumers also have to be wary of designer counterfeits as well. These counterfeits have been known to fund organized crime or sweatshops that use child labor.

    If the seller is used to dealing with luxury items, they should have the receipt from the original purchase. Ask to see it. While it’s not a perfect way to prevent being ripped off, it does go a long way.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, , , ,   

    Masks subject to price gouging and counterfeiting again 

    Masks subject to price gouging and counterfeiting again

    By Greg Collier

    With the new variants that COVID-19 seems to keep producing, many states have reinstituted mask mandates. According to the FDA and the Mayo Clinic, masks can not only help you from catching COVID-19, but helps prevent the transmission of COVID-19 as well. Along with preventative handwashing and getting vaccinated, masks are an essential part of trying to curb the tide of COVID-19 infections. But with the rise of demand for masks, scammers and bad actors are looking to prey on those who want to have a part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

    According to the Better Business Bureau, 60% of KN95 masks sold in America are counterfeits. KN95 masks are one step below the N95 surgical masks that are used by medical professionals, but are still effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Many of these counterfeit masks are sold on websites that may not be the most reputable. A good way to tell if the retailer is questionable is the quality of pictures they use. If pictures of the masks are blurry or of a low resolution, there’s a good chance that the masks will be fakes, if you even receive the masks at all.

    Other retailer may decide to raise the prices of masks to an astronomical amount due to the demand. This is known as price-gouging and may be illegal in the retailer’s state if the retailer is in the US.

    When buying from an unknown retailer, it’s always good advice to do a web search of the retailer’s name along with the words ‘complaint’ or ‘scam’. Legitimate masks should also have the manufacturer’s name, logo, and model number printed on the mask.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , counterfeit goods, ,   

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem? 

    Are counterfeits on Amazon a problem?

    The other day, we posted about several scams that are targeting Amazon shoppers. The scams we mentioned all take place outside of Amazon. That’s not to say that there aren’t scams happening within Amazon. While Amazon is not directly responsible for this particular scam, they are said to be taking measures to combat the problem. What we’re talking about is counterfeits of brand name goods that are being sold through third-party vendors on Amazon. This isn’t the first problem Amazon has had with its third-party stores. Previously, there was an issue of some third-party vendors selling items that had been thrown in the trash.

    Fox Business is reporting that Amazon is getting more serious about cracking down on cheap knock-offs of name brands being sold on their platform. These counterfeits have come at a cost for Amazon as some name brands have refused to sell their products on Amazon because of the number of counterfeits being sold. Many of these counterfeits include such brands as Apple, Nike, Under Armour and Sony. Amazon has even faced a number of lawsuits over the number of counterfeits being sold. Since then Amazon has launched a number of programs to help rod their platform of counterfeits and have even enlisted the help of some well-known name brands.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wx0jhsYRGc%5D

    So what can we as consumers do to avoid buying counterfeits? When shopping on Amazon be aware of prices that are too low for the product in question. Read the Amazon reviews of the seller to see if they have a reputation for selling knock-offs. Be wary of pictures on the item page that are blurry or ill-defined. And if the seller wants you to contact them before you purchase the item, not only could it be a counterfeit product but it could potentially be a scam as well.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , counterfeit goods, , , ,   

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas 

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas

    If you’re looking for a very special Christmas present like a Louis Vuitton bag or a Rolex watch, you have to traverse through the minefield that are counterfeit goods. More often than not, when buying a well-known luxury brand item you’ll have to deal more with fakes then you will the genuine article. Besides being possibly ripped off, the high-end counterfeit goods market has been linked to every type of criminal activity from human trafficking to organized crime and funding terrorism. In the past year alone, the Department of Homeland Security has confiscated over $500 million in counterfeit goods.

    DHS has issued a warning about these phony products flooding the market during the holiday shopping season. They say to beware of websites offering deep discounts for normally expensive items as that’s a good indicator that the products are knock offs. A number of these sites offering these goods could also be just a front to gain your financial information and not even send you a product. DHS also wants people to know that knowingly buying a counterfeit product is also a federal offense and could land not only the seller but the buyer in jail as well.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtrmbTpjdq8%5D

    If you’re looking to buy these products first-hand, then only deal with reputable merchants and keep all the documentation that comes with it including receipts and confirmation emails. If you’re buying these items second-hand, any person selling these items should have all the documentation that goes along with them as they’re a common form of confirmation of the item’s authenticity. Some second-hand markets even have authenticity programs for high-end goods in order to try to prevent fraud. And while it may be fun to own a knock-off as a form of entertainment, keep in mind that buying one is not only illegal but you never really know where your money is going or what it’s funding.

    So, to keep everybody safe and happy during the holiday season, only buy genuine.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , counterfeit goods, , ,   

    Are secret shoppers and Instagram deals for real? 

    Instagram counterfeits, secret shopping jobs, and Amazon to open Nashville hub

    If you’ve ever been approached by a street vendor to buy a ‘genuine’ Rolex watch, you’re probably already familiar with the counterfeit market. With the advance of digital technology those type of vendors have moved online and seem to be particularly prolific on Instagram. According to NBC News, Instagram is full of phony vendors selling knock-off products while claiming to be such brand names as Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Dior. NBC advises you should be wary of ads that contain the word ‘replica’ or vendors that instruct you to communicate with them over encrypted messaging apps.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRbEv3r3HTc%5D


    Previously, we’ve warned about secret shopper scams many times. In too many cases ads for these type of jobs are scams designed to get you to deposit phony checks and wire back the difference to scammers. Once the check is found to be phony by your bank you could be on the hook for the full amount of the check. So are there real secret shopper jobs out there? Yes, according to CNBC who direct you to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. CNBC goes on to call the MSPA the BBB of Mystery Shopping. However, you should also be aware that secret shopper jobs are better suited for supplemental income rather than as a full-time position.


    Amazon is set to open a retail operations hub in the Nashville Metro area. This has not been without controversy as Amazon has been promised a $17.5 million incentive package by the Metro Nashville Council in exchange for 5,000 jobs. This appears to be a routine tactic for Amazon as they previously pulled out of New York City after many vocal opponents of the plan objected to the incentives that the city and state were promising Amazon as they felt the funds could be better spent elsewhere. It remains to be seen if this will start to become a trend elsewhere in the country.

  • Geebo 10:08 am on December 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterfeit goods, , ,   

    Beware the phony iPhone X 

    Beware the phony iPhone X

    Since the iPhone X has been released it has been touted by some in the Apple ecosystem as the greatest cell phone ever invented, while others have said the iPhone 8 is an upgrade enough. However, if you find yourself in the market for an iPhone X, you should be on the lookout for phony knock off versions of the popular phone being sold online.

    One man in Chandler, Arizona, fell victim to one of these knock offs. He purchased the phone from someone on the OfferUp app. The seller had a good reputation on OfferUp which could possibly lead one to believe that seller reviews on OfferUp could be faked. The box was sealed, the package had a serial number and an IMEI number which was said to have been verified. The man paid under the list price of $1000 which should have been a tip-off. No one is selling an iPhone X at a loss. The scam became obvious when the man fired up the phone and an Android prompt greeted him. Android is the Google made operating system used by most phones that aren’t iPhones, while iPhones use Apple’s iOS. These knock off phones have been around even before the iPhone X was released.

    While OfferUp has removed the alleged seller from their app, what’s stopping them from creating a new account to start the scam all over again? As slick and glitzy as the OfferUp app might be it still seems to have the same old problems like the antiquated craigslist, rampant crime and scams galore. The more things change the more they stay the same.

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