Counting down the days…to a scam! | #socialmedia


Marjorie Stephens writes the “Consumer Advocate”

Advent Calendars can be a fun way for the family to spend time together during the holidays and count down to Christmas. But don’t get wrapped up in yet another tricky scam.

A new scam has emerged on social media with ads for unique advent calendars. Wine advent calendars, Christmas socks advent calendars, chocolate advent calendars – there’s something for everyone. But as we find out sometimes too late, looks aren’t always what they seem.

After your order is placed and your credit card is charged, the days turn into weeks and your advent calendar never shows up. Even when searching through the comment section for the product, it can look like many people and are satisfied with the product – but even those reviews may be fake.

In many cases, the advent calendar never even existed. However, some consumers do receive a calendar, but it isn’t close to what was advertised on the social post or website. One consumer reported buying a Healing Crystal Advent Calendar that never arrived, they later found out that it was a fraudulent company.

“I read the reviews below the ad and a lot of people were excited. The website looked professional, ordering was noneventful, and I received a confirmation email and tracking information,” the consumer reported.

Use BBB’s tips to avoid this countdown calendar scam:

• Research before you buy. It can be tempting to buy something on social media on a whim, especially if it isn’t too expensive, but resist the urge. Do a search for the business before you click “buy” to make sure they have a legitimate website and contact information. Even if the website has professional looking photos and good customer reviews, it could still be a fake. Check BBB Scam Tracker to see if others have been scammed by similar companies.

• Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. If an ad promises an intricate advent calendar containing valuable gifts for an extremely low price, it probably is too good to be true.

• Search for consumer complaints. Do an online search of the product and business names along with the words “complaints,” “scams,” or “reviews” and see what you come up with. If you find reports of others who were scammed or didn’t receive what they were promised, steer clear.

• Don’t make quick purchases on social media. Scam advertisers can track your buying habits from social media ads and then target you with specific products they think you’ll fall for. Don’t buy anything on impulse while scrolling through your feed. Do research first to avoid getting scammed.

• Always use your credit card for online purchases. Credit card companies allow you to dispute fraudulent charges, a resource you may not have at your disposal if you purchase an item with a debit or gift card.

For more tips from BBB, visit BBB.org. And if you spot a scam, whether you’ve lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.

Marjorie Stephens is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana. Contact the BBB at 800-552-4631 or visit www.bbb.org.

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Online ads for unique advent calendars could be a scam



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