Susan Tompor: Beware of those gifts you see on social media ads. They may never arrive

By Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Facebook did not address my specific questions on what the tech giant is doing this holiday to put a stop to the fake ads.

Instead, a spokeswoman for the company noted that Facebook launched a campaign on Nov. 24 with the Better Business Bureau that includes "quirky digital ads on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms" from now through December with tips on how consumers can spot scams and shop safely online.

Facebook also states that if someone believes they've spotted a fake ad they can report it on Facebook. You can file a complaint at or report it to the BBB Scam Tracker at

So far in 2020, online purchase scams make up more than two-thirds of the reports from consumers through the BBB Scam Tracker.

Scammers steal by never shipping goods

The less-than-honest outfits aren't hoping to snatch just $40 here or there. It's all about volume and ripping off thousands of people at a time.


"Unfortunately, we see a lot of consumers lose money after buying items they see in Facebook ads," warns Laura Blankenship, director of marketing for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula.

Anyone can create a business page or ad on Facebook, she said.

"If it's a scam, at the very least, the person loses money, but in some cases, clicking on the ads can download malware to your device compromising your personal information," Blankenship said.

When consumers have trouble with an online outfit, they're often mentioning bogus tracking numbers, never receiving an item that they've ordered and ending up with something that isn't high quality.


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