CHICAGO (CBS) — The Better Business Bureau on Saturday warned of a suspected gift card scam that has targeted women around the country.
The recipients, including some in Northern Illinois, reported receiving cards from someone calling herself “Jenny B” congratulating them on their pregnancy, the BBB said in a news release. In some cases, the women who receive the cards aren’t even pregnant.
The cards that are sent out are packed with gift cards for motherhood-related products, the BBB said. In some cases, coupons are included with the gift cards, and they all link back to Pleasant Grove, Utah-based Mother’s Lounge LLC, the BBB said.
One woman named Elizabeth of the DeKalb County community of Genoa called the BBB to report what she thought was a scam. She received a card containing the gift cards and coupons late last month and noticed they were valued at $245, the BBB said.
Elizabeth is not pregnant and does not know how or why she got on the mailing list, the BBB said.
The gift cards the company sends out are for its own various online businesses, the BBB said. BBB chapters serving Northern Nevada and Utah have found 15 affiliate businesses – including Thoughtful Gift Cards and Canopy Couture.
The gift cards were sent all over the U.S. and Canada in envelopes that look like they’ve lost their return labels, when in fact they have never had return labels in the first place, the BBB said. The BBB said that was a marketing meant to make the envelope appear more like mail from a friend.
“In past complaints to BBB consumers who have added a gift card to their orders appears to increase the shipping cost. This increase appears to cover the majority of the cost of the gift card,” Steve Bernas, president and chief executive officer of the BBB serving Chicago an Northern Illinois, said in a news release. “These cards are being sent to women all across the U.S. and Canada with a number of complaints coming from the Midwest. Our concern is that consumers in Chicago and across northern Illinois will soon be targets.”
The BBB said it requested that business owner Jeanette Pierce explain the price increase, but has not received a response.
The BBB has reviewed over 55 complaints and Scam Tracker reports for Mother’s Lounge – saying consumers who have purchased from its website received lower-quality products than expected.