NEW HAVEN, Conn (WTNH) — The Better Business Bureau is warning Connecticut residents to be on the lookout for cannabis dispensary scams.
There have been no reports of any victims in Connecticut since legal sales of recreational marijuana started earlier this month. However, the BBB said several consumers in New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado had been targeted.
How the scam works
You find what appears to be a legitimate dispensary online and then make a payment through a digital wallet app, like Zelle or CashApp. However, the “company” informs you that you must pay another fee. In most BBB reports, 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 you make a payment, the person you spoke with will disappear, and the company becomes unreachable. If you’ve sent the money through a digital wallet app, it’s unlikely you can get it back.
How to avoid similar scams
The BBB offers these tips to avoid being scammed:
- Research businesses before making a purchase. Look up marijuana dispensary reviews on third-party websites and look up a dispensary’s name along with the word “scam” to find any reports of shady business dealings.
- Use digital wallet apps with caution. Remember that sending money through digital wallet apps is like paying cash.
- Don’t pay for services or products before you receive them. While you may need to pay in advance for products that will be delivered to your home, try not to do this with a business with which you aren’t familiar or one with poor reviews or none.