Website hijacks Milwaukee address, draws nationwide complaints

Consumers across the country are speaking out to Contact 6 about a website they say conned them out of their money. The website’s listed address is in Milwaukee.

Michigan beekeeper, Laura Van Hofwegen, thought she’d found a great deal on on her beekeeping supplies.

"It was about a 50 percent discount," said Van Hofwegen. "I checked out the website. It looked very professional."

Laura Van Hofwegen

Laura Van Hofwegen

However, the package that arrived in the mail from China nearly one month later didn’t contain her beekeeping supplies, but a small manicure kit.

"It just has these little nail scissors and two nail clippers," said Van Hofwegen. "It's not even something that's listed for sale on their website."

Laura Van Hofwegen

Laura Van Hofwegen

AIHSKC lists a massive inventory of agricultural supplies and farming equipment. Garry Holland in Washington also placed an order on the website.

"I saw the address in Milwaukee, I thought, "oh this looks good," said Holland.

What Holland got in the mail from China wasn’t listed on AIHSKC’s website, either.

"Instead of two Behlen water tanks, they sent me this useless pair of headphones," said Holland.

Garry Holland

Garry Holland

Contact 6 paid a visit to the website’s listed address in Milwaukee. What they found was a small, single-family residential home.

Georgina Fernandez said her family has lived in the home for 20 years. Fernandez said she’d never heard of AIHSKC and had no idea their address was being hijacked. The family is concerned about the possibility of angry customers stopping by.

"It's a little frustrating," said Fernandez. "Nowadays, you don't know what people can do with your address."

Georgina Fernandez

Georgina Fernandez

Fernandez says this may explain a mysterious package they got in the mail last week that contained only cheap headphones. Possibly, it was an attempt to return the headphones for a refund.

"It's kind of scary," said Fernandez.

Not only is AIHSKC not in Milwaukee, but it’s not a registered corporation with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Several customers say their items were actually shipped from China.

"What we believe is happening is scammers from overseas and looking to make money and rip consumers off," said Lisa Schiller of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Lisa Schiller

Lisa Schiller

The BBB has issued an alert about AIHSKC after receiving a "pattern of complaints."

The BBB alert warns that "products ordered and paid for from the website are not representative of what was ordered, or not delivered at all. Consumers are not being refunded."

"What we always hope is consumers take time to look up a company before doing business," said Schiller.

The BBB says consumers should make sure that an online business provides an address and phone number. They should do a reverse search of the address and check for negative reviews before buying.

The BBB says AIHSKC is just one bad actor among many.

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"We're seeing constant, fake online websites," said Schiller.

Contact 6 emailed AIHSKC for comment. The next day, the website was down. It reappeared the following day. AIHSKC’s phone number did not work when Contact 6 called.

For Van Hofwegen, the experience stung. But, she learned a valuable lesson.

"We just need to be aware and careful," said Van Hofwegen. "There were some red flags that I should have noticed. Fifty percent off is probably unlikely."

The BBB speculates one reason AIHSKC sends cheap items in the mail is so it’s harder for consumers to dispute the charges when their package is marked as ‘delivered.’