As a growing number of consumers have incorporated online shopping as a way to leverage their time, purchasing vehicles via the Internet has also become increasingly popular. BBB reminds consumers that advances in technology often go hand in hand with increased risk. And with vehicles at a higher price point than most items, it’s important for consumers to use extra precautions when considering purchasing online.
Google Wallet is a feature that allows users the option to store all of their loyalty shopper cards in one virtual place, make purchases online via stored credit and debit cards and even send money securely to friends and family. While using the app, all financial information is protected and encrypted and the Google Wallet Purchase Protection covers 100 percent of eligible unauthorized Google Wallet transactions.
While this feature is both popular and useful, Google Wallet has been exploited recently by scammers hoping to steal money from unsuspecting users by creating fraudulent invoices which look similar to Google Wallet Checkout invoices.
Victims report that once the seller has been contacted, they send a fake invoice which looks like a Google Checkout invoice which informs the potential buyer of the cost and provides payment instructions - typically via Western Union, MoneyGram or bank transfer – methods of payment which are not supported by Google Checkout and which are virtually untraceable. The reality is that there is no card, you are not using Google Wallet and in most cases, the scammer gets away with stealing your money. Once you send the money, you will never hear from them again.
BBB advises consumers to use caution when making online purch-ases, especially when using new technology with which they may not be as familiar. A con artist will play on the sympathy, distract, create urgency with or take advantage of the intended victim’s limited knowledge in order to separate them from their money.
BBB provides red flags to look for when dealing with Google wallet purchase scams:
Prices are exceptionally low. The price of the goods you are interested in purchasing seems too-good-to-be-true, or the seller claims to have the new hot item that is sold out everywhere else.
The seller asks for payment that is unsupported by Google Checkout. Google Checkout currently supports payments made by credit or debit cards only. If a seller suggests you pay via wire or bank transfer with your Checkout account, don’t proceed with the transaction; Google Wallet does not support these payment methods.
Sellers ask for transactions to be broken down. Scammers may request high dollar transactions to be broken down into smaller payments, sometimes with each payment going to a different person.
Use extra caution with large ticket items. Keep in mind, spoofed invoices are often related to scams for vehicles, boats, pianos, tractors, etc.
If you received a fake Google Checkout invoice, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( www.ic3.gov ). For more advice about how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org . To report fraud or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.