'We're seeing the problem growing:' BBB warns of counterfeit merchandise being sold online

MILWAUKEE -- One in four people has purchased something online that turned out to be fake. A new investigation revealed a massive number of deceptive websites.

"I was really disappointed," said Maria Gleason.

Gleason needed a gown for a formal event.

"Found this perfect dress. It was a beautiful blue flowing gown," said Gleason.

For just $40, it was a steal. Gleason bought the dress and a T-shirt from Bellalike, a website she found on Google.

"It was really nice. It looked like a chic boutique," sad Gleason.

The dress never arrived -- just the T-shirt, which was three sizes too small.

"I was really mad at myself for buying online for something that was so important, and then, I guess, just not digging more," said Gleason.

Lisa Schiller

FOX6 News found multiple complaints on a Facebook page for Bellalike. The Better Business Bureau gave the business an "F" rating, and said it operates out of China. A BBB investigation into counterfeit products found 88% come from China and Hong Kong.

"We're seeing the problem growing and growing," said Lisa Schiller, BBB.

Schiller said it's not just clothing, but also jerseys, sunglasses, watches, prom dresses, sports equipment, electronics and more. What does arrive is low-quality.

"If you get the product at all -- because oftentimes, what we hear from consumers is once they place an order, a lot of times they don't receive the product at all," said Schiller.

The tactics cost the U.S. economy upwards of $250 billion a year, and 750,000 jobs.

Schiller said you should beware of social media ads and websites without contact information.

Gleason was able to get a refund through PayPal after her attempts to reach Bellalike failed.

"They had a phone number on there, nobody would ever answer," said Gleason.

BBB officials said behind these websites is often international organized crime.