Even in the era of PayPal, consumers still get ripped-off

(WMBF/WXIX) - Internet shopping has gotten a lot safer in recent years thanks to sites like PayPal, but internet scams still happen.

"I was basically looking to save a buck," said Rob Lehmkuhl. "I was looking for a Weber gas grill."

He perused Craigslist and ended-up at a wholesale furniture site where he found a grill for $600. The site claimed to be a liquidation-type business.

The company told Lehmkuhl via email he could pay for his grill with PayPal or a credit card. But when he tried, the company claimed its system was down and suggested he use a Green Dot MoneyPak, a pre-paid debit card you can buy at any reputable retailer.

When Lehmkuhl gave the company his activation code for the card, the money transferred. He waited weeks for the new grill and finally decided to call to find out what was going on.

But he didn't get anywhere. Lehmkuhl didn't have a grill and his money was gone.

"Just makes me sick to my stomach because I thought I was smarter than that," Lehmkuhl said. "I really did. They got me."

You can protect yourself by checking complaint records at your local consumer protection agency.

Also, the federal Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right to dispute credit card charges for goods or services that were not ordered, never received, or misrepresented.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved. WXIX contributed to this report.