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Scammed by that toilet paper or coronavirus face mask you bought online? Join the club

Judy L. Thomas, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Business News

The ads are enticing, no doubt about it.

Forty-count mega rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft. Twelve double rolls of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush. Face masks, Clorox wipes and paper towels.

"Hot sale! In stock now!" they say. "3-7 Days Express Delivery."

Don't delay, the toilet paper ads warn. "17461 sold in last 24 hours. WE HAVE VERY LIMITED QUANTITIES AT THIS PRICE!!"

The operative word is "limited." And for many consumers, it's more like "zero."

As the coronavirus winds its destructive path through the country, products like toilet paper, disinfectants and protective masks remain in high demand. And as frenzied buyers go online in search of those scarcities, scammers are out in full force, playing on COVID-19 fears in an effort to defraud them.

 

"No shipment of toilet paper but they took my money quick enough," wrote one angry customer in a complaint to PayPal last week. "I can't believe paypal would continue doing business with this scammer from China...This scammer has toilet paper on 3-4 different websites all of which were opened in Feb of this year. They present themselves as a company in U.S. but buyers beware! DO NOT ORDER FROM THESE SCAMMERS!!"

Said another: "Yup, same here. Thought it was from legit company and it switched. Sent email with no response."

The company, pattops.com, did not respond to a request for comment. On its website, it promises to "Ship within 24 hours after payment" and offers a money-back guarantee on its products. "99.3% of Reviewers Recommends This Product," it says. In the photo of the toilet paper it is selling, the word "Northern" is spelled "Northen."

Documents show the company only recently registered its site on Jan. 21. The registration was updated on March 24.

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