Internet Scam Alert

Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 7:18pm

A warning from the Better Business Bureau: those internet ads for free products could cost you more than you think. FNBR’s Kianga Kelley has more on today’s consumer report.

We see these types of warnings time and time again, but now that more people are vulnerable from losing their jobs, those ads continue to catch people when they least expect it.

With an ailing economy threatening jobs on a daily basis, some may find themselves vulnerable to internet scams, advertisements for free trial products or work at home ads, waiting to trick the unexpected and leave them with a heft credit card bill.

LSU sophomore Bonnie Buttler says, “A lot of people who are looking for fast money, easy money, just to work at home, yea I think a lot of people would do it.”

We decided to try out an offer for teeth whitening strips. Weeks later we got our free sample, along with two bottles of Colon 700 and credit card charges worth more than $160. We weren’t the only ones with unauthorized charges; a complaint website was swamped with several angry customers demanding their money back.

“If they’re there, obviously somebody is clicking on them. It’s obviously working in some kind of way,” says LSU junior Patrick Doucet.

Jim Stalls, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau, says “First thing to keep in mind is if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” Stalls says scams like these are very common, especially when the economy is weak. He says anytime a company asks for a credit card or personal information it should send up a red flag.

Stalls says, “If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, you’re opening yourself to the opportunities for identity theft, which is a whole other problem.” Instead, he suggests researching the company before finding yourself in more debt.

Not every internet offer is bad. Stalls says the best way to find out if a site’s offer is legit is just look for a Better Business logo.