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Protecting yourself from social media shopping scams

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Posted at 10:16 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 22:16:39-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you plan to finish up your Christmas shopping or if you're just getting started, the Better Business Bureau has some tips on how to protect yourself from scammers. The BBB says you should think twice before buying from social media ads.

Facebook and Instagram are filled with ads geared just for you, but are they really what they claim to be? The Better Business Bureau says before you click, do some investigation.

"Year after year, we have heard from people who have ordered items that they thought would make a great Christmas gift. But they didn't get it, the holiday is getting close, they're getting nervous and it turns out there's no way to contact the business other than email. That's a huge red flag," Heather Clary, Director of Communications said.

Their tips may seem simple, but the bureau says they see the same mistakes every year, especially during the holiday season. Another red flag? A site selling a high end item, for a low end price.

"If you're buying from a site you've never dealt with before, use a credit card. A lot of people maybe don't want to run up the credit card bill this time of year. However, sometimes there are protections in place you don't get the item or you what you get isn't what you thought you were going to receive," Clary said.

The BBB says watch out for sellers requesting that you wire money or pay by gift cards if you are buying an item from an individual on a resale site.

"Some other item that someone is selling on social media marketplaces or on sites like Craigslist, the Better Business Bureau wants to remind people that if you use those sites, you're on your own. If something goes awry, it's just going to be between you and that person," Clary said.

If you've been scammed, the BBB says to report the seller to BBB.org/ScamTracker.

For more ways to protect yourself from social media shopping scams, check out BBB.org/ShoppingOnline.