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The Word We're Looking for is 'Sketchy'

by Danielle Kane | Apr 4, 2019 10:17:45 AM

We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re
on Facebook or Instagram, scrolling through your newsfeed when an ad catches
your eye. It’s perfectly targeted to your interests and location (hello, creepy
digital marketing techniques of 2019). And, wow, it’s super affordable. Time to
shop!

Not so fast.

How you land on ads like this is not actually
the point. It’s where these ads lead
you that matters – and many times, it’s to shady, phony and sometimes
fraudulent websites.

BBB Northwest + Pacific is dealing
with complaints about one such website right now: Gearow.com. Gearow is
an online store that claims to operate out of Buffalo, New York. Gearow appears
to specialize in outdoor equipment and accessories – perfect for most
Oregonians who are known for their love of outdoor adventure. But complaints
against the company suggest most consumers who place orders with Gearow never
get their products.

In fact, there are complaints from
40 out of 50 states, including four recent complaints or negative reviews from
Oregon consumers. One Hillsboro consumer stated that after receiving an initial
email confirming his purchase, he never received the item. After three weeks,
he tried to follow up.

“Needless to say, all of their
contact information is fake or does not work,” he said.

And he was right. In December
2018, BBB of Upstate New York investigated and discovered that all the phone
numbers associated with the company were disconnected. In addition, BBB found
the address listed on the website is actually a storage facility in Buffalo.

Consumers who did eventually
receive their order after months of waiting, determined the packages were coming
from overseas, based on the postage.

I believe the word we’re looking
for here is ‘sketchy’?

Because of the complaint activity, the
company has an F rating with BBB. There are also 47 customer reviews for the company (all one-star
reviews), and ten reports to BBB Scam Tracker.

But, this doesn’t always mean them
website is no longer luring customers. The website for Gearow is still up, which is why we want to warn and educate consumers
and business owners.

I have learned the online shopping
world is changing rapidly – it can be hard to distinguish who is a legitimate
retailer and who is not. And in this digital age, it’s not uncommon for
retailers to only be available by chat or email; so, we can’t assume just
because there is no phone number, the company is phony or a scam. 

To be sure your money is well
spent – and your package will actually arrive – follow these tips:

  • Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take
    your time, and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the
    return policy. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.
  • Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message
    from a well-known brand or even a friend but, clicking on unfamiliar links can
    place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. It is easy for scammers to
    spoof an email to look like it’s coming from a legit source.
  • Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only
    available online but, be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous
    retailer’s website. If you’re clicking on a website from social media ads, open
    another tab and search for the brand’s official website to make sure the URLs
    match.

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