BBB in AL warns of ‘craftiest’ scam they’ve ever seen
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re On Your Side with a warning from the Better Business Bureau in Alabama.
The BBB is investigating one of the most impressive, complex, and scary scams it’s ever seen.
Multiple victims from five states have contacted the BBB to say they’ve collectively lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after wiring money to a business claiming to sell used, heavy equipment on their website.
But those victims never got what they paid for.
The business website’s name: Stephens Truck & Equipment located in Millbrook, Alabama.
But after the BBB starting digging, it found out that particular business has been closed for multiple years.
And the BBB tell us scammers were using the business’ name and good reputation to create a fraudulent website.
“We found the website was just created in April of this year. It was registered out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” said Garet Smitherman with the BBB. “There were no real giveaways on the website, unless you did a reverse image search on Google using the images, where you can then see that those images were lifted from other websites. So, they’re currently using a website where the staff, their “team”, is a bunch of real estate agents from California.”
To do a Google reverse image search, go to the website or image in question, and save the image.
Then, go to Google.com, click “Images” at the top right corner of the page.
Then hit the camera icon in the search bar.
Then click, “Upload My Image” and upload the image in question that you just saved.
The page will then direct you to “matches,” or other sites or images that look similar to the one you are researching.
If you don’t find any similar images, you know the image you’re researching is legitimate.
But if you find similar images from multiple websites, that’s a red flag. That could mean the image you’re researching has been swiped from another website.
“These people spend their days figuring out how to swindle you. That’s what they do for a living. Just like anyone else who spends all their days focusing on one thing, they get pretty good at it,” said Smitherman. “And so the more you can stay informed, and the more you are aware of the risks, and just what scams are currently out there, is the best way to protect yourself.”
The BBB said these scammers got even bolder after realizing the BBB was watching them.
Smitherman said the scammers then started submitting false positive reviews on the BBB website to try and counteract the progress the BBB was making.
Smitherman said these scammers are now using another website to try and pull off the same scam with the exact same pictures and layout. The current website the BBB is tracking for scams is https://cleburnetruckequipment.com. The original website was https://stephenstruckequipment.com, which can no longer be reached.
For more information, and how to report a scam, click here.
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