Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about websites claiming to sell official NFL products when, in fact, they are selling counterfeit goods. Many of these sites not only violate the trademarks of the National Football League, they also carry fake BBB Accredited Business seals. The proliferation of fake NFL websites is expected to boom during the playoffs and leading up to the Super Bowl.BBB Serving Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, based in Cincinnati, investigated one such company allegedly based in Loveland, Ohio, claiming to sell official NFL merchandise, including Cincinnati Bengals sportswear. BBB contacted the Cincinnati Bengals main office and was informed by the director of merchandising that the website in question is not associated with the Cincinnati Bengals NFL Franchise. They believe the company is sourced overseas producing unauthorized Cincinnati Bengals merchandise.After trying to contact the business through the Postal Service and email, BBB did not receive a response. BBB also learned the business phone number, 315-636-6191, is associated with several other websites offering NFL branded sportswear for teams such as the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and others. BBB submitted a follow up request to the website owners to substantiate posted statements that the items they sell are "official" and "authentic," but is still waiting for the business' response.BBB has records on ten different companies using this phone number to promote “official” NFL merchandise. All ten BBB Business Reviews either give the companies an F rating, carry an alert, or both.“I grew up rooting for the Chicago Bears, win or lose,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for 112 BBBs across North America. “But, like most fans, when I wear my official Bears jersey, I want to be sure it truly is the real deal and not a cheap knock-off that’s going to fall apart. It’s illegal to sell counterfeit merchandise and pass it off as ‘official.’ Another danger is that some sites don’t sell anything at all but are just downloading malware or collecting personally identifiable information that can be used for identity theft.”BBB Tips to Protect Yourself from Counterfeit Goods:BBB urges consumers to take steps to protect themselves from counterfeit goods and possible scams that can be associated with them:Shop only in established, team licensed stores and on reputable websites. If you aren’t sure, go to the official team page. Buy directly from there or find out what stores are licensed to carry team merchandise.Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. They usually are!Check out a company at bbb.org. Read the BBB Business Review to learn more about others’ experience with the business.Use caution when buying big-ticket items or brands online, especially when using free sites like Craigslist.When using sites like EBay, take note of the seller’s track record and reputation, and read the online reviews.Ask for a certificate of authenticity on autographed memorabilia.Have an independent appraisal done to verify the value of jewelry or artwork.Report scam posts on Facebook by following these instructions.Report malware or spam on Twitter by following these instructions.For More Information:Check out businesses at bbb.org. To learn more about scams or to report one, go to BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam).NOTE: EBay is a BBB Accredited Business.