MADISON, Wis. - Without their knowledge, two Wisconsinites had their names and home addresses used to register fraudulent football jersey websites, according to the Better Business Bureau.
The women, one in Muskego and the other in River Falls, have subsequently received complaints from frustrated customers wondering why their jerseys have not arrived.
"I would love to think it's random, but I don't think it is," said Kimberly Hazen, who runs the southwest Wisconsin chapter of the BBB. "I think this is starting to be a pattern here."
In each case, the websites (shopdallascowboysgear.com and seahawksfanstore.com) were established overseas. However, for their contact information, they included the women's names and where they lived.
"Shocked. They're totally shocked," Hazen said. "They had absolutely no idea this was happening. They didn't know their name was being used.
"The concern is their address is out there. Somebody is using their street address. It's not like they're hidden at all and so, if they are making a whole lot of folks angry, they know where to find them."
The jerseys displayed on the site cost $89.99, a dramatic reduction in their usual $240 cost. Further, there is bad grammar and spelling throughout the site plus a demand for only the billing address of the credit card being used raises numerous questions for consumer advocates.
"It's just one of those too-good-to-be-true kind of things," Hazen said. "A bargain shopper says, 'That's a great deal.' A savvy, smart shopper says, 'That's a great deal. What's up with this website?' It's a red flag."
The women whose identities were hijacked filed reports with their local police departments as well as with the Internet crimes unit within the Federal Trade Commission. However, as Hazen said, consumers are virtually powerless to stop this from happening to them.
"Unless they know it's happening, they can't do anything about it," she said. "And unfortunately, it's almost impossible to know it's happening."
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