Beware fake websites that resemble real businesses

Scams

It’s a scheme that preys on local businesses and ultimately has you working for the con artists.

Now the Hawaii Better Business Bureau is warning of the risks involved in drop shipment jobs.

Websites and social media have proven to be an effective way for businesses to make a name for themselves, but one local company recently had its name stolen right out from under its nose.

“What (con artists have) done is stolen another businesses name and they’ve put up a fake website to make it look like it’s that business,” said Greg Dunn, Hawaii Better Business Bureau executive director and CEO.

The Hawaii Better Business Bureau says the schemers even hired people using the newly created website as a recruiting tool.

“They’re being asked to receive a shipment at their home, apartment, or business, open up a box, take a picture of the merchandise, seal the box back up, print out a shipping label and drop the package off at the post office,” Dunn explained.

What’s worse, after investigating, the Hawaii Better Business Bureau learned those items were bought with stolen credit cards.

“It’s very dangerous if there are any folks out there that are currently working that think they’re working for a company, work at home, drop shipment and they’re asking you to follow this process, you definitely want to contact the authorities,” Dunn said.

That’s because the thieves also likely asked for your personal information, like your bank account and social security number, putting you at risk for identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau was alerted to the scam by a student who actually took the job, but when he was told what he would be doing, he got suspicious and called authorities.

“We had that website forcibly taken down,” Dunn said.

The BBB encourages people to do as much research as possible when it comes to accepting job offers.

Also, when it comes to giving out personal information, make sure you know who you’re giving it to.

Businesses are reminded to protect their online identity and report any suspicious activity.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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