Straight Talk: Be sure your new jersey is the real deal before you buy

Better Business Bureau
Special to The Canton Repository
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Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.

Wearing the jersey of your favorite basketball player or team is a fashionable way to show your support. Jerseys can be pricey and, as with most high-dollar items, scammers have invented ways to con people shopping for one. If you are buying a jersey online, be sure to do your research and purchase from a reputable business.

How the scam works

You come across a website that boasts a large selection of basketball jerseys featuring some of the most popular colleges, pro teams, and players. The site may claim to be endorsed or sponsored by famous athletes or boast an inventory of hard-to-find sizes. In any case, the website looks legitimate. As for prices, some scammers offer jerseys at regular prices, while others claim they are selling at deep discounts. They might explain the sale by claiming to be going out of business.

You decide to purchase a jersey, and everything seems normal during the checkout. has seen reports of scammers asking customers to pay through PayPal (a BBB Accredited Business), after which they may send you a "tracking number" for your order. In some cases, the jersey never existed, and you will be left waiting for a package to arrive that is not coming.

If you discover you've been dealing with scammers or a counterfeit product vendor, it will be hard, maybe even impossible, to get your money back. In addition, depending on how you paid, scammers may now have your credit card number or other personal information.

How to avoid sports jersey scams

  • Only shop with reputable businesses. Plenty of trustworthy businesses sell sports jerseys, so shop with them! How can you tell if a business can be trusted? Look up business reviews on and other third-party websites, especially if you come across a new business through social media ads. Read customer reviews carefully, keeping an eye out for complaints about customer service and possible scams.
  • Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. They probably are. If you find sports jerseys for unreasonably low prices or a company claims to have sold-out jerseys in their inventory, think twice before you buy. Scammers hope you will be so excited about the deal you found you will buy without doing any further research.
  • Use safe payment practices. When making purchases online, it is best to use your credit card. If you discover fraudulent charges later, contesting them and possibly getting your money back will be easier. In addition, be careful with peer-to-peer payment methods. You should only pay someone this way if you already know and trust them or their business. If a seller insists you pay them with a digital wallet app, it could be a red flag. Money sent this way cannot be refunded.

For more information – If you have been the victim of a scam, report it at . Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.

For BBB information – Visit or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!