ARLINGTON, VA — Dental work can be expensive, insurance or not, and scammers know it. Recently, BBB Scam Tracker has received multiple reports from people who were scammed by con artists claiming to offer expensive dental equipment at discounted rates.
How this scam works
You do an online search for a retainer, dental veneers, or another kind of dental equipment. You find an online ad that looks legitimate and click on it to visit the website. The website may feature high-quality customer videos that seem convincing. Best of all, the price is right. You’ll only pay a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands your dentist quoted you.
Once you place your order, the charge appears on your credit card, and the business claims your order is on its way. If the order does arrive at all, consumers report that it comes long after your credit card’s dispute limit has expired.
For example, one victim reported: “The first indication of something not quite right was the length of time to receive the product, which was nearly a full month later! Plus, they advertised a California location, but the tracking number for my package indicated the origination point was China. When the item finally arrived, the veneers were total junk. You could find teeth like these in any Halloween costume display. It’s a total misrepresentation from the online ad.”
If you try to contact the company’s customer service, you’ll quickly find it doesn’t exist. The company will be unreachable, and you likely lost all that money for good.
How to spot these scams:
• Research a company before you buy. A quick internet search of the business name and “complaints” or “scam” could reveal you’re dealing with a less than honest vendor. Always do thorough research on a company before making a purchase, especially if it’s one you haven’t heard of it before.
• Be wary of online ads. Search engine results and social media often feature online ads that are eye-catching and appear professional. While many legitimate businesses advertise this way, scammers do too, so don’t take every ad at face value.
• Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. Many a scam victim fell for a great deal that didn’t turn out to be great at all. Scammers love to offer high-dollar products (like dental equipment) at prices way lower than the actual cost.
• Pay with your credit card. When paying with a credit card, you can usually dispute fraudulent charges. Be sure you know your dispute time limit though. If a company hasn’t delivered by the date they promised, it’s time to file a dispute.
For more information
Review BBB’s Tip on smart online shopping for more ways to protect yourself from scams when shopping online. Read more about spotting scam social media ads.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Learn how to spot a scam at BBB.org/SpotAScam.