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Consumer First Alert: Buyer Beware when shopping online for canning supplies

Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 12:01 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A pandemic trend has more people canning their own fruits and vegetables, and it also means you may need to search a little harder to find supplies.

Betty Kuhn is now sharing her story to help others avoid becoming a scam victim.

She was in a jam searching for canning supplies, and found a website called masonofficial.com, where it had the American flag; logos; and even a warning to watch out for fraudulent websites, claiming they were selling the official products.

“I’ve been canning for years and years and years and depending on the American products, and these, I’m afraid, are not American,” said Kuhn. “You can look and see that there are flaws in the lids. The little seal part is not even all the way around.”

After comparing them to her brand name lids, she contacted Action 2 News to warn others.

“This is a box I got that had wide mouth rings and lids. I just feel like a fool for falling for these, this,” said Kuhn.

She isn’t the only one, though.

Members of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) say they’ve had multiple complaints about copycat sites.

“This is really a lesson to consumers that scammers will take that extra step and say “Hey, we’re warning you about the fraud, you know we’re official but watch out for all the fraudulent websites.’ I mean that’s how they work, isn’t that bold? It’s pretty interesting and then they list their address in China right on that website,” said Lisa Schiller, the Director of Investigations with the Wisconsin BBB.

So, how do those websites get shut down?

BBB officials say you’ll want to find out when the website was created and if there’s a registrant.

“If not, go directly to the site source. Message the registrar, let them know that you are a consumer (and) you believe these items are counterfeit, you believe this website is not really who they say they are, and it’s not connected to the particular canning company, using this fake name,” said Schiller. “Write to that registrar. You may or may not hear from them. We do this same thing on our end all the time. Sometimes we hear from them, often times you’ll eventually find that website shutdown, so we think they’re investigating on their end and heeding our warning.”

Real canning supply companies have warnings about counterfeits and resources on where to buy original products, and say they have increased production in time for canning season.

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