The BBB has given us a heads up about a new scam that targets holiday shoppers — pop-up internet electronics stores that only accept payments via wire transfer.
The scammers have been setting up presumably fake electronics store websites that claim to accept credit cards and other forms of payment — but when the shopper tries to buy something they’re informed that they’ll have to send a wire transfer. Obviously, once they send the money the scam is complete.
“Anytime you’re being asked to pay for something by a wire transfer service, that should be a huge red flag,” said BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenays spokesperson Daniel MacDonald. “Once money has been sent, there’s no way to get it back – using a credit card to pay for items online provides a great deal more security.”
The BBB posed as a consumer to gather more details about how the scam works:
According to verbal complaints to BBB, which have all been lodged from the United States, the products ordered may never be delivered. Further, the organization seems to change its name and URL frequently: in recent weeks it has appeared as Bargain Town, Qbelam, Circuitown, and now Cesa Room with a Calgary address.
A BBB staff member posed as a customer and contacted the organization under the guise of buying a laptop – she indicated she wished to pay using a credit card, and received a message back indicating that “due to high rate of fraudulent activity” they would only accept a wire transfer from consumers outside of Canada. As the BBB operative had indicated she was a Canadian resident, it appears that the return message was automatically generated, intending to dupe citizens of other countries