BBB Issues Warning About Fake Jewelry Sellers Online

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(WOIO) - A Broadview Heights woman became the unsuspecting victim of an online scammer when she purchased jewelry from what she believed was Tiffany & Company, the famous New York jeweler. Instead, she later discovered after submitting her $228 payment, that she had been duped by a Tiffany counterfeiter doing business as Tiffany & Company On Sale.

The practice of using a Web site domain name that mimics popular brands is termed "Cybersquatting." Cybersquatting easily deceives online shoppers into thinking they are doing business with the "real thing."

The Broadview Heights consumer realized she had been deceived when she searched online to find a phone number to contact Tiffany about her order and was led to the real Tiffany & Company. "The nice lady with the actual Tiffany & Company informed me that I had been taken by a fraudulent company," she told BBB, "…the REAL Tiffany & Company has a short order number on their items. (My order) had about 15 digits."

Although she was able to get the order canceled, Tiffany & Company On Sale would not give her a refund. "This … scammer canceled my order on Mar 3, 2010, after me yelling and screaming....but would NOT refund. Then they told me I had to return the cheap, Model T-like chrome jewelry to get the refund, AFTER they had canceled the order. This would cost an additional $25 to return this cheap crap."

BBB contacted a representative from Tiffany & Company in New York who told BBB they had been getting many calls from consumers about this fake site. She confirmed that, even though Tiffany & Company On Sale states on its site that "…This website (Tiffany & Co. on Sale) is a (sic) Online Jewelry Store to provide Tiffany & Co. silver jewelry Overstock products at discount prices, all products are new & unused.", Tiffany never has overstock items available for resale.

Tiffany & Company On Sales Web site address has an .mn suffix, which indicates it is registered in Mongolia. Consumers can confuse the .mn as meaning the site is registered in Minnesota.

Online shoppers should always be alert to cybersquatters and sites that claim to sell well known brand named goods at discounted prices. Check the company's BBB rating HERE.