KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers of bogus sites selling Clorox and Lysol wipes.
The FTC says at least 25 websites have been selling the products without delivering them to buyers.
Clorox, the world's biggest maker of disinfectant cleaning materials, said consumers will continue to see a shortage of its wipes and other products into 2021 because of overwhelming demand during the pandemic.
The FTC believes the defendants illegally charged consumers thousands of dollars for Clorox and Lysol products customers never received. In some cases, consumers reported that when they tried to return to the fake website to seek a refund, it was gone in a matter of days or weeks, while the defendants moved on to set up a new website with a different URL.
"We don't have a specific dollar amount and that's part of what we are trying to determine through the temporary restraining order," said Fil DeBanate, attorney for the FTC.
The sites are designed to look like legitimate sellers of Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes, and lure-in consumers by using internet search engines and pop-up ads.
"So, consumers see these ads, they believe that they are linked or affiliated with Clorox and Lysol. They either click the ad or are directed in some manner to the websites of the sammers, and that's how the nightmare begins," says DeBanate.
COVID-19, which has killed more than 235,000 Americans and has driven up demand for Clorox, Lysol and other disinfecting agents, causing shortages.
"That is what we're implementing this moment. Shutting down these websites, shutting down their advertising accounts, shutting down payment methods. Those are all important so we can try to mitigate or lessen the consumer harm," says DeBanate
If you have been a victim of or have seen this scam online, the FTC would like you to report it at their website ReportFraud.FTC.gov.