NBC 5 Responds

BBB: Using TEMU could expose consumers to identity theft, other issues

NBC Universal, Inc.

UPDATE: Following the publication of this story on Sept. 13, the BBB issued the following statement:

When BBB in Chicago published the release, we were unaware of Temu’s efforts to work with the BBB in Boston to address customer complaints. Temu has been actively engaged with BBB to respond to concerns raised by consumers.  We refer everyone to the BBB Business Profile on Temu for the latest information on the company and to access BBB resources about safe online shopping. 


Experts are issuing warnings about a popular shopping app that offers deals that are seemingly too good to be true.

Complaints and concerns about the TEMU shopping app have been growing since its launch last summer. Now there are renewed concerns about how much of users' personal information the app is gaining access to.

The Better Business Bureau warns the app collects a lot of information from consumers, including your social media and banking information. Cyber security experts say they suspect the app could even bypass cellphone security settings to spy on other apps and even change settings.

According to the BBB, additional info being collected is the operating systems for phones or other devices – laptops, tablets, etc. The IP address, browsing data, and if provided, the GPS location.

“According to cyber security experts, if they infiltrate your phone and operating system, they can get to other apps and applications you’re using. They’re concerned they can even get your contacts too and get that information. So people have to be really careful because your information is a gold mine. And if it ever falls into the wrong hands, that makes it so easy for identity theft,” said Tom Johnson with the Better Business Bureau.

The app has already been downloaded more than 50 million times in the US.  

NBC 5 Responds found there are numerous other issues with TEMU as well- from the quality of the merchandise, issues with returns, to slow shipping speeds.  Many users also report they get a flood of emails from the site and other businesses after they sign up.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company is registered in Boston as a foreign company through Delaware. It is owned by PDD Holdings Inc., which is headquartered in China. TEMU began operating in July 2022, and has already amassed nearly 900 complaints.

If you’ve been lured in by temu’s low prices and have the app on your phone- the BBB recommends checking your credit report to make sure no one is using your information.

The BBB also recommends the following:

  • If you haven’t downloaded the app, don’t.
  • If you have – consider deleting it.
  • When you’re on social media sites and you see those sponsored ads, don’t click on them no matter how enticing the deal. Scammers frequently post fake ads.
  • Before you do any business with any company, do your research, and a great place to start is with ratings and reviews on BBB.org
  • Limit the information you post and share on your social media profiles.
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