Columbus, OH - Want to show support for your favorite team by purchasing their gear? Your Better Business Bureau is warning fans to beware of lookalike or suspicious websites when ordering sports apparel or other merchandise online. BBB recently became aware of Champs Apparel, a website claiming to offer licensed NFL apparel at a discount.
The fake address listed on their website actually belongs to a Columbus private school, but their domain registration address is in New York. Last week, their website waswww.champsapparel.com. Now inactive, the scammers are currently using the new domain champsapparelstore.com to offer items such as an “authentic” Ezekiel Elliott color rush jersey for $69.99. The low price is a significant discount from a similar Ezekiel Elliott player jersey selling in an NFL shop for $124.99. BBB has written to the NFL to notify them of the trademark infringement.
A student attending Ole Miss told BBB his mom went to Champs Apparel online to order the Ezekiel Elliott jersey for his Christmas present. She then received an email indicating technical difficulties with champsapparel.com and redirecting her to champsapparelstore.com instead. Suspicious, she checked her credit card statement, which showed the payment was made to a Jinshou Zhaoxin Ltd. The student said his mother hasn’t received the jersey and is disputing the charge with her credit card company.
According to their About Us page, Champs Apparel “only sells 100% authentic apparel. No variants or B-grades.” Since none of the consumers who filed complaints with BBB received their orders from the website, BBB cannot verify this. Other language on the site also offers a tip-off that they are not official. A frequently asked questions page uses terms like “whilst” and “despatched”.
BBB offers the following advice when shopping online for authentic sports apparel and related products:
Watch out for too-good-to-be-true pricing. Fake websites advertise cheap prices as a way to attract and encourage consumers to "purchase" their products and provide sensitive information. In many of these cases, either the items do not exist or they are counterfeit and of poorer quality than officially licensed merchandise.
Look for contact information. Find out the business name, physical address, phone number and email address and verify that the physical address matches the business name. If no contact information or verifiable business information is listed, it's a red flag. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of sale carefully before placing an order.
Know the seller. Research the company if you've never made a purchase on the website before. Check out the company on bbb.org and conduct a Google search on the website name and the word "scam." If the website is claiming to be an official site, authorized to sell licensed products, confirm this directly with the team, league or source it is claiming to be authorized by.
Check website security. Before making an online purchase, check the URL of the page you're entering contact and financial information. If the URL doesn't start with "https" your information could be exposed to con artists or hackers. A security enabled web page will begin with "https," instead of just "http" and will likely have a lock symbol that displays as green to verify security. Always pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the charge later.
Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet and smartphone.
Media Contact: Kip Morse - 614-754-4560 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB serving Central Ohio was founded in 1921, and serving 21 counties in Ohio, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.