BBB online scam alert

BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous complaints from shoppers fooled by too-good-to-be-true social media ads. Just because a company advertises on Facebook, Instagram, or another social platform does not mean it is trustworthy. Be sure to do your research before making a purchase.

How the Scam Works:

You are scrolling through social media and see an ad in your feed. Advertisements for clothes, make-up, beauty products, toys, and even puppies are all very common. The ads hook you by offering a great deal, or, in the case of a beauty or health product, by claiming to produce amazing results. They may also promote the season's "must have" toy or gadget that's difficult to find in stores.

If you click on the ad, be sure to evaluate the website (and the business behind it) before making a purchase. BBB Scam Tracker has received reports from customers who were overcharged, never received their orders, or ended up with faulty (or entirely different!) products.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, reviews its ads for content. But it does not evaluate the businesses behind those ads. Be sure to check for a secure site (look for HTTPS in the domain), business reviews (, and working contact information.

Protect Yourself from an Online Shopping Scam

  • Before buying online, confirm the site has real contact information. Make sure the seller has a working phone number and address on the website, so you can contact them in case of problems.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, there's probably something wrong. Be wary if the item is selling for significantly lower than what you've seen elsewhere.
  • Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See for more advice.

For More Information

To learn more about Facebook advertising, check out their ad review policy.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.