Sell Your Cell Company Sold Consumers Out


Staff Report



November’s scams

Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money-loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences to BBB’s Scam Tracker. In November, consumers reported losing a total of $5,513.

BBB analyzed Scam Tracker reports from November 2016 to shed a spotlight on five scams affecting our Central Ohio community:

1. Sweepstakes Scam: A woman from Fredericktown received a call from an impostor claiming she had won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse. She was told the check would be delivered by a US Marshall escorted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, but in order to receive the check she had to go to Kroger and get a money order for $395 while staying on the phone with the impostor. Consumers should know that no purchase, tax, payment, fee or money transfer is ever requested or required to collect a prize from a legitimate sweepstakes or company.

2. Ticket Scams: A student from Mechanicsburg paid $345 for OSU/Michigan game tickets that she never received. She initially saw them advertised on Craigslist and paid for them with MoneyPak, a pre-paid credit card. To avoid being scammed when buying tickets, consumers should refuse any offers that asks to be paid with a GreenDot MoneyPak card or any other type of prepaid money card.

3. Overseas Online Company Scam: A Columbus businessman paid $1,200 for parts he ordered from China, but never received the parts and was out the money he paid. BBB suggests consumers do their research before purchasing from an online company, especially any that may be out of the country. It’s important to look for reviews, a phone number, a physical address, and a return/exchange policy. BBB also recommends using a credit card so you can dispute the charges if there is an issue.

4. Business ID Theft: A Columbus business owner reports her business’s name is being used by a mystery shopping scam. Consumers across the country have received letters and checks asking them to be a mystery shopper and evaluate Target. Recipients are directed to deposit the checks into their account. If your business has experienced identity theft, report the activity to local law enforcement, the FBI’s cybercrime division and BBB. If a deceptive website is involved, work to get it shut it down. Once identified and documented that a site is using your business name, notify the web host. Host information is available with a networksolutions.com/whois search of the web address. As part of your public response, consider posting a warning on your company website.

5. Phony Job Offer: A Chillicothe woman reported losing $3,300 to a job scam called Optum Rx. She received a cashier’s check for $3,410.10 from Optum Rx and wired the money. She now owes her bank $3,300, and received FedEx packages from New York. Whether it’s a secret shopper scheme, a work-from-home scam, or a phony offer of employment, job-related scams can steal your money or identity. It’s easy for scammers to create an email, websites and online “job applications” that look very professional. Be cautious of anyone who wants to interview you only over the phone, who asks you to wire money for supplies or other upfront expenses, or who asks you to fill out an online form that asks for personal data like your Social Security Number or bank account.

BBB Scam Tracker is a free interactive online tool. The Tracker is available with every BBB in the United States and Canada as a resource for locating and reporting scams and fraud. Consumers can report malicious activity and view a heat map showing where local scams are happening.

Columbus – Better Business Bureau has been investigating Sell Your Cell, a company operating several buyback websites offering top dollar to trade in old cell phones, but instead bilked consumers out of thousands of dollars.

Sell Your Cell, also known as Laptop & Desktop Repair, is the company behind websites like cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com and sell-your-cell.com. The business gives customers online quotes for used cell phones and promises to pay the quoted amount after collecting the devices.

BBB received almost 2,700 complaints from unhappy consumers. Most were promised hundreds of dollars for their old cell phones but were sent as little as $5 or $10. Some phones sent to the business were even newer models.

Consumers who attempted to contact the company found they couldn’t be reached. Many customers were hung up on while others had unanswered emails.

Sell Your Cell has recently been shut down as the result of a lawsuit filed by the FTC and the State of Georgia. Since the lawsuit, the websites have been taken down, but BBB suspects that similar websites could take advantage of consumers looking to sell electronics for extra money this holiday season.

If you have an old device you’d like to get rid of, consider the following tips:

  • Trade it in. Ask the manufacturer or retailer if they’ll take your old device and give you credit toward a new one.
  • Recycle it. Ask the manufacturer or retailer if they recycle old devices. You can also see the EPA’s advice on donating and recycling electronics.
  • Donate it. Contact your local charity and ask if they accept used electronics.
  • Before donating or recycling any electronics, make sure you delete and erase any personal information attached to the device first.

If you are interested in working with a company that may give you money back for electronics, do your research. Search for reviews online and look up the business at bbb.org.

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Staff Report

November’s scams

Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money-loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences to BBB’s Scam Tracker. In November, consumers reported losing a total of $5,513.

BBB analyzed Scam Tracker reports from November 2016 to shed a spotlight on five scams affecting our Central Ohio community:

1. Sweepstakes Scam: A woman from Fredericktown received a call from an impostor claiming she had won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse. She was told the check would be delivered by a US Marshall escorted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, but in order to receive the check she had to go to Kroger and get a money order for $395 while staying on the phone with the impostor. Consumers should know that no purchase, tax, payment, fee or money transfer is ever requested or required to collect a prize from a legitimate sweepstakes or company.

2. Ticket Scams: A student from Mechanicsburg paid $345 for OSU/Michigan game tickets that she never received. She initially saw them advertised on Craigslist and paid for them with MoneyPak, a pre-paid credit card. To avoid being scammed when buying tickets, consumers should refuse any offers that asks to be paid with a GreenDot MoneyPak card or any other type of prepaid money card.

3. Overseas Online Company Scam: A Columbus businessman paid $1,200 for parts he ordered from China, but never received the parts and was out the money he paid. BBB suggests consumers do their research before purchasing from an online company, especially any that may be out of the country. It’s important to look for reviews, a phone number, a physical address, and a return/exchange policy. BBB also recommends using a credit card so you can dispute the charges if there is an issue.

4. Business ID Theft: A Columbus business owner reports her business’s name is being used by a mystery shopping scam. Consumers across the country have received letters and checks asking them to be a mystery shopper and evaluate Target. Recipients are directed to deposit the checks into their account. If your business has experienced identity theft, report the activity to local law enforcement, the FBI’s cybercrime division and BBB. If a deceptive website is involved, work to get it shut it down. Once identified and documented that a site is using your business name, notify the web host. Host information is available with a networksolutions.com/whois search of the web address. As part of your public response, consider posting a warning on your company website.

5. Phony Job Offer: A Chillicothe woman reported losing $3,300 to a job scam called Optum Rx. She received a cashier’s check for $3,410.10 from Optum Rx and wired the money. She now owes her bank $3,300, and received FedEx packages from New York. Whether it’s a secret shopper scheme, a work-from-home scam, or a phony offer of employment, job-related scams can steal your money or identity. It’s easy for scammers to create an email, websites and online “job applications” that look very professional. Be cautious of anyone who wants to interview you only over the phone, who asks you to wire money for supplies or other upfront expenses, or who asks you to fill out an online form that asks for personal data like your Social Security Number or bank account.

BBB Scam Tracker is a free interactive online tool. The Tracker is available with every BBB in the United States and Canada as a resource for locating and reporting scams and fraud. Consumers can report malicious activity and view a heat map showing where local scams are happening.

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org