Buy personalized products? Beware of fake ads on social media

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A personalized item can seem like the perfect gift; However, last-minute shoppers should look for deceptive ads on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok promoting personalized gifts. BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports from people whose purchases ended up being very different from what they thought – if they arrived at all.

How the scam works

While browsing social media, the ad appears for the cutest personalized product. It could be an item of clothing with the name of a loved one, a keychain with the face of a favorite pet, or a paint by numbers kit made from a photograph. provided. Either way, you click on the link to the company’s website. Everything looks legitimate, so you make the purchase with great anticipation.

However, when the order arrives (if it arrives at all), it is not the quality that was expected or imagined. Personalization may contain errors or the product may be completely different from what the website describes.

The customer service contact is not responding, or if you talk to someone by phone or email, they assure you that they will fix the problem, but never do. Ultimately, you end up with a junk product, or no product at all, and no way to get your money back.

One buyer reported this experience while purchasing a custom hoodie online: “After 5 days I had not received a shipping notification and became curious. Back on the site, I used their tracking option with no results. I called the phone number listed on the site, and it connected to a garage door company.

How to avoid social media ad scams

  • Research the company before making a purchase. Before entering any personal information on a website, do a thorough research on the company. Examine the website. Poor quality pictures, pictures found on other websites, and spelling and grammar errors are all red flags. A real business should have valid contact information (i.e. a working phone number and customer service email address). If the business has a physical address, search for it on Google or Apple Maps. Look to see if they have a profile on BBB.org.
  • Look for reviews on other websites. Read as many reviews as possible on websites other than the company selling the product. Keep a close eye on customer complaints. Search a trusted search engine for the name of the business along with the word “scam” to see if other people have flagged the business as fake.
  • Pay with a credit card. Ideally, use a credit card instead of a debit card, as it’s easier to dispute fraudulent charges with a credit card and there is a better chance of getting a refund.

For more information

Learn more about a code tracking trick scammers use to fool online shoppers, and how to identify social media ad scams. Check out BBB’s tips for smart shopping online to avoid shopping from shady companies. Source: BBB.org

If you have been scammed, please share your experience on BBB Scam Tracker. To find reputable companies, visit bbb.org.

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