Wednesday, November 29

Beware of fake clearance sales on social media

A going-out-of-business sale can mean massive markdowns.

But before you click on any social media ad, you need to watch for copycat sites that are popping up on feeds everywhere.

Some major retailers are now warning shoppers about fake clearance offers from fraudulent websites, saying that just because something looks like a legitimate ad doesn’t mean it’s real.

Buy Buy Baby fraudulent sites offer huge markdowns

When Bed Bath and Beyond and sister store Buy Buy Baby announced closings earlier this year, shoppers flocked to their liquidation sales.

But at the same time, scammers were setting up fake clearance websites for both stores, according to the Better Business Bureau. Sydney Joyave says she stumbled on one of them.

“One of my friends sent me a link to a going-out-of-business Buy Buy Baby website, and it was really exciting,” she said.

Joyave says the site she was shopping offered up to 90% off Buy Buy Baby’s original prices.

“They had amazing deals going on for their going out of business sale,” she said.

So, she and her friends started shopping for baby items.

“We were just getting some baby shower gifts, baby strollers and car seats,” Joyave said.

But after paying several hundred dollars for a stroller and other items, she got a worrisome call from her bank.

“I was fooled all the way through,” she said. “I put my credit card information in. It wasn’t until my bank called and reported a fraud and didn’t accept the charge that I knew something was amiss.”

It was a good thing her bank had red-flagged the purchase, stopping it from going through.

Other victims aren’t so lucky.

BBB warning about fake ads

The Better Business Bureau’s Megan O’Brien says they are receiving more and more complaints about fake clearance ads on social media.

“Counterfeit ads are definitely a way for scammers to target someone who is excited about a deal,” O’Brien said. You just have to jump on it; there is that sense of urgency.”

And it is not just stores that are going out of business. Dick’s Sporting Goods now has a warning on its website, showing copycat Dick’s ads that claim huge savings and name-brand gym shoes on clearance for as low as $19.

Dick’s tells customers to look for strange return addresses and URLs that are not from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

In the case of Buy Buy Baby, the real site now just says, “Join us on a new adventure” in the fall. But look-alike sites are still up.

“I was fooled,” Sydney Joyave said.

So be so careful of social media clearance ads, so you don’t waste your money.

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“Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).

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