Scam marijuana dispensaries become growing concern

The Better Business Bureau reports an increase of fake marijuana dispensaries scamming people out of hundreds of dollars

TULARE COUNTY – As marijuana dispensaries and delivery services continue to pop up in every nook and cranny of the county multiple consumers reported losing money to delivery service scams.

On Jan. 20, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported that there has been an influx of reports from consumers about marijuana dispensary scams in states where sales are legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. The BBB said that these shops are appearing to seem more legitimate, making it easier for customers to quickly become victims. 

These scam shops typically create online websites, where products and prices appear to be legitimate. However, when consumers place an order for delivery online, the product never comes. These shops even allow consumers to call and place an order. However, the BBB said that in most scams the only options of payment will be through sources like Zelle or CashApp.

Additionally, the scam dispensaries commonly inform the consumer of additional charges that they have to pay in order to make a purchase. In most BBB reports that were filed from victims of these scams, the “dispensary staff” insists that the extra money covers “delivery insurance” or is standard for all new clients. The fee is typically a few hundred dollars, but the scammer promises you’ll receive a refund once the delivery is complete.

Once a consumer makes a payment, the dispensary number they called will no longer work, and the company becomes unreachable. If a person sent money through a digital wallet app, it’s unlikely they can get it back, according to the BBB.

In order to avoid these scams, the BBB recommends researching businesses before making a purchase. Marijuana dispensary reviews on third-party websites offer better and more verifiable information. The BBB also warned consumers to keep an eye out for reports of scams or poor customer service, and if possible, visit the company’s brick-and-mortar store before buying anything.

When making purchases online, the BBB said that it is only safe to use digital wallet apps with trusted contacts and businesses. The safest way to make a purchase is to use a credit card since credit card companies usually allow you to dispute fraudulent charges. If you’ve been the victim of a scam, they recommend you report it to BBB Scam Tracker. 

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