Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving many retailers out of business. But what’s bad for businesses often means sales for shoppers. Before jumping on what sounds like a great deal, make sure it’s not a con. BBB.org/ScamTracker
has gotten many reports about online “going-out-of-business” sales that either don’t exist or don’t live up the hype.
How the Scam Works
While scrolling through the Facebook feed or searching the web, an advertisement comes up for a going-out-of-business sale. The company is closing because of COVID-19 and selling off their inventory at a great discount.
If you click on the ad or type in the promoted URL, it leads you to a website selling anything from designer goods to electronics to novelty items. The photos feature products that seem like a great deal and of high quality.
But if you order something, what arrives isn’t exactly what was expected. Frustrated shoppers report to BBB.org/ScamTracker that the products they receive are much worse quality than what was shown online. For example, one victim ordered $250 worth of “designer” clothes from a New York-based store. Instead, they received low quality items shipped from overseas. “What was supposed to be cotton and/or linen was the worst quality polyester,” they told BBB. “The clothes, in general, were nowhere close to the advertised quality on the website images. Definitely NOT the quality I paid for.”
Other times, scammers never intend to send you anything at all. They simply steal your credit card information when you are prompted to pay. These phony sites can also download malware onto your computer and give scammers access to your personal information, passwords, and more.