‘Tis the season for shopping, and scammers are taking advantage by impersonating television shopping networks.
BBB Scam Tracker is seeing an influx of scam reports about con artists impersonating networks like QVC and HSN to sell shoppers products that don’t exist.
How the scam works:
You come across an ad on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or another social media network that appears to have been published by QVC, HSN, or another well-known shopping network. The ad may even contain a video of a televised shopping event with hosts you recognize.
However, when you click on the link, it takes you to a website that is not the official site. Scammers offer amazing deals on this imitation site, hoping it will distract you from noticing where you’ve landed.
One consumer shared this experience: “I saw a post on Facebook and thought I was ordering a toaster from the QVC Outlet. When the toaster never arrived, I checked my email and found a message stating that the toaster was already delivered, but it never was. I then went to the post office and gave them a tracking number I was provided. They told me it wasn’t legitimate. So, I called QVC directly. They told me the outlet does not sell items on Facebook.”
Another consumer realized they weren’t on the official site after making a purchase and requested a refund. The company said they would provide one but never did. Unfortunately for these consumers, their money was lost, and their personal details are now in the hands of a disreputable business.
How to avoid online shopping scams:
- Double-check the URL. Always ensure you are on a company’s official website and not an impostor site. Look at the URL closely to confirm it contains no minor spelling errors designed to fool less cautious consumers.
- Be wary of ads on social media. Scammers use social media ads to trick consumers in a plethora of ways. Research before clicking on an ad with a deal you’re interested in. Search for complaints in the comments section and do a Google search on the business and/or deal.
- Search for previous complaints. Do a Google search of the business name followed by “complaints,” “reviews,” or “scam” and see what pops up. If you find this business has cheated other people, steer clear.
- Do your research. Before making a purchase, quickly search for the business in question. Do they have valid contact information? Don’t be fooled by professional photography or consumer reviews on their website. These can be lifted from other sites. Check BBB Scam Tracker to see if others have been duped.
- Watch out for deals that are too good to be true. Scammers draw people in with deals that sound incredible. Stay skeptical if a deal seems unreasonably good, and think before you buy.