The BBB says its scam tracker has received thousands of complaints about deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram.
BUFFALO, NY – As the holiday season approaches, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning shoppers to be extra careful when purchasing items from social media ads.
The BBB says its scam tracker has received thousands of complaints about deceptive ads on Facebook and Instagram, adding that online shopping scams have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year alone, online shopping scams were the most reported BBB Scam Tracker complaint and claimed the highest number of victims.
The BBB asks online shoppers to look for these common scams:
- Products that claim to support a charity
- Free trial offers
- Branded products that are counterfeit
- Red flags such as spelling and grammar errors in advertisements, poor quality images, and items priced significantly lower than other retailers
- Engaging ads and poor customer service. It can range from beauty products to fashionable clothes and even children’s toys.
- Applications of unknown origin
To avoid being scammed, the BBB advises online shoppers to use common sense and do some research online before purchasing an item. This involves searching for the name of the website in a search engine, along with keywords such as “complaint”, “review” and “scam” to see what other customers are saying about the seller.
In addition, customers are also advised to check the “about us” or “contact us” section of the website to see if it contains contact details. The BBB says it’s a red flag if customers can only contact the company through an online form.
For more information on BBB or how to avoid scams, visit BBB.org/Holiday or BBB.org/ScamTracker.