BBB warns against magazine subscription scam

Published On: Jul 20 2012 06:17:45 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 20 2012 06:55:16 PM CDT
magazine-stack
KINGWOOD, Texas -

A Kingwood woman who said she was duped into buying a magazine subscription shared her story so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

The scammers, found not only in Texas but all over the country, all seem to use the same sales pitch -- they claim to have fallen on hard times and tell their victims they really need the money.

Jill Honeycutt said a man claiming to sell magazine subscriptions came by her Kingwood home, and she immediately thought of her 3-year-old son, Caleb.

"It was right before Christmas and I was wanting to order one for my son for a Christmas present," Honeycutt said. "He has a million toys, and I thought a magazine would be a good idea."

The salesman told her he was selling magazine subscriptions to pay for college, so she wrote him a check for $35 for a three-year subscription. The check got cashed, but after 90 days, there was still no magazine and Honeycutt became suspicious.

"So I thought, 'Well, I'll just give them a call,'" she said. "I called the number and the voicemail box was full. That's a bad sign."

According to her receipt, the company had an office in Missouri City, but its address turned out to be a UPS Store. An employee at the UPS Store said he knows nothing about the company claiming to sell magazine subscriptions. The toll-free number listed on Honeycutt's receipt only led to a busy signal.

The Better Business Bureau has fielded close to a dozen local complaints over the past few months and said a few hundred have been filed nationwide.

"These are basically a bunch of young adults traveling in a van across the United States so they are hard to identify and hard to catch," Monica Russo with the BBB said.

The BBB said most legitimate magazine sellers will have a permit, so you should always ask to see it. To protect yourself, you should only buy from someone you know and don't fall for any "hard luck" tales.

Honeycutt, who works for a non-profit, said it's not about the money, but about being lied to.

"I would have helped him if he'd said, 'Hey, would you give me some money. I want to go to college, would you donate money to me?'" she said.