Better Business Bureau

Customers, Experts Warn Of Online Shopping Fraud on Social Media, Especially During Holidays

NBC Universal, Inc.

Shopping online is easy and convenient for many people especially during the pandemic, but for Chelse Bride she’s being extra careful now after what happened to her earlier this year.

“I’m not totally swearing off online shopping because of the convenience,” she said. “(But) I definitely am looking into these companies a little bit more.”

Bride was on Pinterest three months ago when she came across an ad for a yellow jacket. She clicked on the link and said the website looked legitimate so she made the purchase.  

“I received a confirmation email and everything. After I purchased it the money was taken from my account,” she said.

But a month into her purchase, there was still no package at her door.

“I know there had been a lot of supply chain issues going on as of lately,” she said. “They were very kind and they were assuring me that they were going to get it dispatched and sent to this shipping place and everything.”

Bridge said that never happened.

“I had a couple emails from them asking for a refund and they would not give me a refund,” she said. “They are asking me to be patient.”

Bride told NBC she started looking into the company and found a slew of similar complaints from other customers.

“Luckily mine was only $43, but I had seen other reviews that people were spending over $200 and not receiving their products,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau released a new study Thursday showing online purchase scams skyrocketed during the pandemic, with complaints to the BBB increasing by 40% since 2019.

“A lot more people are shopping online because of the pandemic, but guess what these scammers are shopping online for victims,” said Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois president and CEO Steve Bernas.

The BBB said consumers are being lured in after seeing ads on social media.

“They just buy the ads on Facebook to make it look like a legitimate company,” he said. “Sometimes they copy the names of the company, sometimes they copy the picture, they copy the whole website and you think you’re buying from a legitimate website.”

The BBB offering three main tips for consumers: research the company, read the customer reviews, and always pay with a credit card online.

Bride said she’s not making the same mistake twice.

“I’m just a lot more cautious,” she said. “Definitely going to use my credit card this time around.”

The BBB said using a credit card often provides more protection against fraud than other payment methods.

Click here for more safety tips from the BBB.

Contact Us