Tag Archives: Better Business Bureau

BBB warns about Bitcoin Mining Computers

People are complaining Austin, Texas-based Cointerra, computer manufacturer that “mines” bit coins, is not giving promised refunds.

Consumers, who say they spent over $6,000 per unit for the devices, sought refunds when the company stated in February that the machines they ordered in 2013 would not work as advertised. Complaints are coming from U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia customers.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin has more information about the company and specific consumer complaints. A few customers received refunds, but many have not, and some say the business is not responding to calls or emails.

Cointerra first came to BBB’s attention in March and April when 11 complaints against the company were closed. In the past month, however, 39 complaints were filed, which prompted a warning. The company has not explained the recent wave of complaints nor responded to BBB.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has issued an Investor Alert about bitcoins and calls them “more than a bit risky” as an investment.

BBB offers the following advice for shopping online:

  • Do your research. Check out the company’s BBB Business Review before purchasing anything from a website.
  • Pay with a credit card. Charges made on a credit card can be disputed after a purchase, whereas debit, cash or wire transfer transaction cannot.
  • Review refund and shipping policies. If you can’t find the terms and conditions, ask the seller through an email or telephone call to provide them to you in writing.
  • Keep documentation of your order. After completing the online order process, a shopper should be provided with a confirmation receipt. BBB recommends printing a copy of the confirmation and any sign of the expected delivery timeframe for future reference.

Leave a comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

Military warns military members of possible Memorial Day scams

May 22, 2014
BBB Military Line, the military arm of the Better Business Bureau, provides free resources, such as financial literacy information, access to BBB services and scam alerts, and complaint and dispute resolution for all branches of the U.S. military. BBB warns of the following scams that are directed at service members:

High Priced Military Loans – Advertisements for loans that promise a guarantee, instant approval or no credit check will often come with hidden fees and extremely high interest rates. Remember that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before you apply and loans that require an upfront fee are likely a scam.

Veterans’ Benefits Buyout Plans – This buyout plan will offer a cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments. The cash amount is only about 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to. These buyout plans can be structured in several different ways, so research thoroughly before signing anything over.

Fake Rental Properties – Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives. Service members will have to pay a fee via wire transfer for security payments or a key to the property – in the end they will receive nothing.

Phony Jury Duty Summons – A caller claims to work for the local court system and states that the service member did not show up for jury duty and now has a warrant out for their arrest. When the victim says they never got a summons, the caller will ask for a credit card number or Social Security number to clear up the matter.

Misleading Car Sales – Websites posting classified ads will offer false discounts for military personnel or claim to be from soldiers who need to sell their vehicle fast since they have been deployed. Upfront fees will be required via wire transfer, or the vehicle will have problems after purchase.

Expensive Life Insurance Policies – Members of the military are often the targets of high pressured sales tactics that offer unnecessary, expensive life insurance policies. Solicitors may make false statements about the benefits that these policies offer.

BBB recommends the following tips to avoid scams:

Do your research. Get as much information as you can about a business or charity before you pay. Check out a business’ BBB Business Review at bbb.org.

Don’t wire transfer money to anyone you don’t know. Money sent via wire transfer is practically impossible to track. Pay by credit card when possible, since you can dispute charges easily.

Protect your computer. Don’t click on links within unsolicited emails. Don’t enter personal information on unfamiliar websites. Make sure that you have updated anti-virus software installed and use a firewall at all times.

Put an Active Duty alert on your credit reports when deployed. Doing so will lower the risk of identity theft because creditors and businesses cannot issue or grant credit until verifying identity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Outreach

Yorkie puppy scam nearly hooks Idaho Falls woman

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

When it finally got to the price of the Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Louise Baker of Idaho Falls was taken back.

“I wrote them back and asked why so little,” she says. “He said the only reason why they were having a knock-off price is because his fiancĂ© will have a baby in about two weeks and he needed a new home for the puppies ASAP to ‘give way for the nursery and play room for my kids.”

It seemed odd the cost of the puppy, veterinarian papers, shipping crate and transportation would only be $450. She said next day delivery from Cincinnati, Ohio, was possible if the transaction was closed immediately.

She became even more suspicious when the seller only wanted to deal with her by text or email, and contacted Better Business Bureau. She said she wanted to talk to someone by phone before ordering and they refused. She had her granddaughter look at everything and she, too, decided it had to be a scam.

BBB searched the email address and there are people who have posted that they paid for and never received their dogs. When BBB called the number (740-537-0484), it was a Verizon disconnected number response.

BBB warns consumers that classified ads offering purebred puppies free or at prices that seem too good to be true she be avoided. Beware of Internet sellers asking for full payment before seeing documentation, other than a photograph, that the puppy is healthy and, sometimes, real.

Follow these tips to avoid pet buying scams:

  • Beware of ads with multiple misspellings and grammatical errors; many pet scams come from overseas and scammers often do not have a firm grasp on the English language.
  • Do not send or wire money to people you do not know.
  • If purchasing a pedigreed pet, be sure the breeder provides documentation of the parents’ registration with the appropriate kennel club. This ensures that the pet is in fact a legitimate pure-bred animal. It is then your responsibility to register your pet with the appropriate kennel club.



Filed under Scam alert