Scoring a good deal is enough to make anyone happy—and scammers know it. They have been putting up ads on social media that promise deep discounts on name brand goods. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says this is definitely a case where a sale is too good to be true.
How these scams work
You might scroll through your social media feed and see an ad for brand name shoes, clothes, or electronics for a fantastic price (even up to 95% off!). When you click on the ad you’re taken to a website so you can shop. When you click on the link, that’s when things can get fishy.
In some cases the sites just collect your personal and payment information and never send you a thing. In others, you may receive something that resembles what your ordered, but is actually a cheap counterfeit version. Clicking on the link could also download malware on your computer so scammers can get access to your personal information, password history, and more.
Also, be cautious of free trial offers. The BBB warns that many of those ads are misleading. You try it once for only a small amount of money, not realizing you’re also agreeing to monthly shipments that cost $70-100 each.
How to avoid fake sale scams
The BBB has this advice:
- Know where you’re shopping. Exercise caution before placing an order on an unfamiliar website. Double check the web address before you make a purchase to make sure you haven’t been redirected to a scam site.
- Research before you buy. Do a quick Google search for reviews and any terms and conditions before you place your order. You might discover information that makes you think twice. (If you can’t find any terms and conditions, that’s also a red flag!)
- Beware of off-brand URLs. Scammers often create web addresses that are similar to popular shopping sites or contain the name of a well-known brand. Real sales or offers are almost always advertised on a company’s main website. Be wary if you can’t find that “great deal” you saw advertised elsewhere.
- Use your credit card. You can dispute fraudulent charges if you use a credit card. It’s the safest form of payment when you’re shopping online.