New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
November 22, 2022

Michael S. Garrity, Director of Communications | (603) 931-9375

Zachary Frish, Attorney-Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau | (603) 271-2150

Consumer Alert – Small Business Impersonation Scams Are on the Rise in New Hampshire

Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella warns New Hampshire residents about recent reports of fraudulent websites posing as legitimate Granite State small businesses offering their products online.

The scammers who establish these fraudulent websites may also establish fraudulent email addresses associated with the websites and use those fraudulent email addresses to "verify" the small business through independent organizations used to establish marketplace trust, such as the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, and Show Me Local. In New Hampshire, these scams have been identified in the firearms industry and heavy equipment sales industry.

The fraudulent websites will typically advertise products for sale at deeply discounted prices compared to the marketplace and provide an option to contact the company's sales department to make a purchase. The scammers often insist the consumer pay for the products using a bank wire transfer. Victims of the scam are at high risk of losing their money, as scammers are often located overseas.

Attorney General Formella offers the following advice to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Watch out for deals that are too good to be true. A deep discount could be the sign of a scammer trying to lure you in.
  • If a deal does appear to be too good to be true, ask probing questions of the seller as to why the product is discounted.
  • Ask to speak to the seller over the phone. Ask detailed questions and thoroughly verify a seller before deciding to purchase the product. Some practical steps you can take to verify a seller are:
    • Ask for references that can verify the legitimacy of the seller and contact those references.
    • Confirm that the seller's contact information, including but not limited to email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses, is consistent across all platforms. If there are multiples websites listing different phone numbers, email addresses, or other information, be aware that some of the information may be fraudulent.
    • Visit the seller if possible. It is always best to see a product and meet a seller in person before committing to a purchase.
    • Check with local law enforcement or the Attorney General's Office to see if any complaints have been filed against the seller.
  • Beware that these scams are sophisticated. Scammers will often be able to produce fake invoices, contracts, logos, and contact information to give the impression of legitimacy.
  • Know that anyone can set up a realistic website and social media pages that claim to be associated with a legitimate business. Scammers will sometimes purchase ads to direct you to their website.
  • Do not make a purchase if a seller insists that you pay via money transfer service or gift card.
  • Do not wire money to someone you do not know or who you have been unable to verify using the guidance discussed above.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this scam, report it to your local police department and the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau of the Attorney General's Office. You can file a complaint at: or by calling the Consumer Hotline at (603) 271-3641.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658