BBB warns of fake consumer website - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

BBB warns of fake consumer website

BBB warns of bogus consumer protection website (Source: Raycom Media) BBB warns of bogus consumer protection website (Source: Raycom Media)
Imagine if someone set up a website that tricked people into believing it was from the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General's Office.

These two agencies are designed to protect consumers.

One phony website is playing off the biggest consumer agency in the country and helping themselves to your money.

For those who don't know, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a government agency created to protect consumers from financial fraud and other abusive practices.

The BBB warns to not confuse that agency's legitimate site with a fraudulent web page called Consumer Protection Bureau.

It makes some big claims about protecting consumers, but the BBB says the only thing that the company is protecting is itself.

While the names are similar, this site is not a government agency.

"Don't try to talk to them, don't engage in conversation, all that can happen is they can talk you in to it," says Tom Gallagher with the BBB.

In fact, the BBB calls the fraudulent site misleading and gives it an "F" rating.

Consumers claim they've received calls from supposed agents following up on a sweepstakes prize and wanting to make sure they get paid.

Gallagher says eventually a fee is requested.

"These people are very, very good and, depending on your need at that time and your vulnerability at that moment, you can fall for it," he warns.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the site created by Congress, confirms that the controversial site is in no way connected with the agency and added, "The CFPB will take appropriate steps to assure that its name and its logo, both of which are subject to registered federal trademark, are protected from misuse."

"They are targeting all of us. Anybody is vulnerable at this particular time of our lives, nobody has enough money in the bank and we always have more expense than we have money it seems," says Gallagher.

If you've already sent money, you will probably never see it again. Tracking the companies down is always a challenge because many times they use fake addresses.

Gallagher adds, "If you get a call from an organization saying they are with the Consumer Protection Bureau and they want to make sure you don't get hurt, stay away from them, run in the other direction, it's not going to do you any good."

The Consumer Protection Bureau did not respond to emails or phone calls.

Click here to visit the real website for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

And for more information on other government impostor scams, click here.

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