FRIENDSWOOD, Texas – Imagine getting angry phone calls from frustrated customers all over the country, accusing you of stealing from them. It’s happening to one Friendswood woman who discovered the hard way scammers had roped her into their crimes, posting her real address and cell phone number on their fake website.
How the scam works
There are multiple victims in this scam. What’s unique about it, is it leaves one set of victims pointing fingers at another victim while the bad guys hide.
Scammers set up a bogus website that makes it appear they are selling clothing. Consumers place orders and make payments and then wait for their products to arrive. When nothing is ever delivered, the consumers go back to the website to follow up. That is when they found a phone number to call and an address, supposedly for the business. Unfortunately, in this case, the address and the number belong to Christen Cowan. She has received more than 15 calls from upset customers who want their money or the products they ordered.
“Cursing at me, wanting to know where my order was,” Cowan said. “I’ve gotten calls from local numbers and I’ve even gotten calls from places like Little Rock.”
Where to report the crime
Cowan has done all the right things. She called her local police department, filed a complaint with the Internet Crimes Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission. She also sent an email to an address on the website demanding the operators remove her phone number and address from the site. Three months have passed; and her information is still posted there.
KPRC 2 discovered the domain for the site is registered in Europe. Consumer expert Amy Davis filed a complaint with that company.
We also reached out to the real Columbia Sportswear to let them know this bogus company was using their name and logo. Columbia assured us they have sent the information to their legal department.
“I don’t want someone knocking on my door and looking for items,” explained Cowan. “They may think it’s a business but it’s my house.”
Update: Hours after this story was published on September 28, 2020, the faux Columbia Sportswear website was taken down and Cowan’s address and phone number were removed. The site now is pretending to be Madewell, selling clothing from that brand.