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BBB warns there is so much demand for masks that fake websites are popping up

Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- Stores like Costco are requiring all customers to wear masks. The CDC recommends wearing one whenever you leave the house. But with this surge in demand comes the opportunity to lose money online.

Natasha Griffin

Natasha Griffin has her hands full keeping 2-year-old Noah entertained at home.

"Quarantine with a toddler -- it's not ideal," Griffin said. "Snacks every ten minutes now."

They only leave the house for trips to the grocery store. To protect Noah, Griffin bought this $8 mask on Etsy.

Natasha Griffin, Noah

"Like a Spider-Man face mask for him -- just to make it fun," Griffin said.

Despite claims it would ship in one to two days, Noah's mask has not arrived. It has been more than three weeks.

"When I went back and checked out the reviews, there were several pages of complaints," Griffin said.

The seller has more than 16,000 sales since joining Etsy this year. Contact 6 found 14 pages of complaints.

"I reached out to the seller. There was no contact; no reply," Griffin said.

On its website, Etsy says "many sellers...are facing disruptions in their usual routines that may cause some unpredictability when it comes to fulfilling orders." It says sellers may have shipping delays, difficulty obtaining materials, or an unprecedented volume of orders."

Jim Temmer

"This could be a legit person, they just got behind, they were overwhelmed by the orders," said Jim Temmer of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The BBB said there is so much demand for masks that fake websites are popping up. It is the number one scam reported to the BBB scam tracker.

"A lot of times fake sites just spring up, you know, they're up for a couple of weeks, they come down. They'll come up with another name, throw it up and it'll come down," Temmer said.

To avoid losing money, pay with a credit card, and look up the business on BBB.org. Only use websites that start with "https" -- and make sure the business has an address, phone number, return policy, and privacy policy.

"All of these are things that legitimate businesses build into their websites," Temmer said.

Etsy has a good rating with the BB -- and we found out why. Contact 6 emailed them -and the seller on Griffin's behalf. That same day, the seller posted a message saying they're "taking a short break" to fill "all orders that have been placed." One day after that, Etsy gave Griffin a refund.

"It's the principle. You order something it doesn't matter if it's a dollar versus $100, you order something you expect to get a product," Griffin said.

Etsy did not respond to Contact 6's request for comment.

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