BBB warns of bogus home exercise equipment ads

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A warning about online deals for cheap home exercise equipment that are too good to be true! While your looking to slim down, crooks are hoping to thin out your wallet!

Some people have lost big bucks on offers that sounded like a steal. Only the crooks are the ones laughing all the way to the bank.

Cases popped up in Minnesota and North Dakota, but because these are online transactions, the Better Business Bureau tells me it could easily happen to someone right here in Richmond.

Home exercise equipment at discount prices, in some cases half off! Only crooks are fishing for suckers who'll take the bait.

"People are being taken on a relatively easy thing to do. We see prices that are great but in this case they're wanting them to wire transfer that money," said Better Business Bureau's Tom Gallagher.

Gallagher said such bogus offers can be found on Craigslist. He also warns about which consumers said posted fake ad deals.

Many of the companies request Moneypak, a pre-paid card, as a form of payment. But Moneypak has a list of approved partners and even warns customers against using the cards to buy things from classified ads.

In this case, people paid for exercise equipment, they ordered online but it was never delivered to their homes and the point of contact, disappeared.

"We've not heard about this here but if it's happening in Minneapolis and St. Paul the potential for here is just wonderful," said Gallagher.

Craigslist ads that link to web sites for deeply discounted exercise equipment should be avoided. Web sites that also call for customers to wire money are also a red flag.

"If you don't know who they are, if you can't see it, you have no idea what their validity is. Why in the world would you want to do business with them? You're chasing a dream," said Gallagher.

If you've run into these bogus offers, you're urged to call police and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.