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Facebook Ad Scams Are Easier to Fall For Than You Think — Here’s How to Avoid Them

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Have you ever scrolled through Facebook, saw a product you loved, and couldn’t believe how good the price was? What a steal! Not so fast. It turns out that there’s a growing number of Facebook ad scams popping up every day, many of which target unsuspecting users on the platform who may not understand how advertising for the site works.

Facebook ad scams can really run the gamut, but at their simplest, they’re usually a business promoting a product or service at what seems like a great price. Often, however, these companies are nothing more than a purchase form connected to a bank account, and those that do actually sell items send you products that look nothing like the image or video you saw online. This could be as simple as thinking you’re buying a physical copy of a cookbook and being sent a digital cookbook in its place, as you can see one woman describe in the video below:

How are these phony websites and businesses able to promote their fake products and operations in the first place? It turns out that Facebook has a pretty low threshold for what’s required for anyone to run advertising; If you have a website, a privacy policy (even if it’s bogus), and a filled-out profile on Facebook Pages, it’s relatively easy to do. The social network doesn’t monitor an ad’s claims aside from using basic algorithms to check for issues like harmful slurs or sexually explicit material. Often scammy posts aren’t taken down until after a certain number of users have complained or the issue has escalated to the attention of the platform’s higher-ups.

Because of that, Facebook users themselves have to be vigilant. To protect your money and personal information like your credit card number, there are a few important steps you can take to save a few bucks and spend them with businesses that’ll actually get you what you want.

Google the business and find its grade on the Better Business Bureau website.

You’d be surprised how much a simple Google search can reveal about a company. Type in the name of the business and words like “scam” and “review,” and if too many results are coming up, you might want to empty your shopping cart and browse elsewhere.

The Better Business Bureau is also a fantastic resource for finding out if a company is legitimate or not, as it uses an A-F scale to assign a grade of trust to each organization based on customer reviews, complaints, and more.

Be suspicious of offers and promotions that seem too good to be true.

If a Facebook ad is promising to get you a dress that’s normally $75 for $5, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam or that the dress you end up receiving will look nothing like what you see on your screen. Trust your gut when it comes to your potential purchases!

Check to see if a company has an address, contact information, and a customer service department.

When you look up a business, can you easily find a legitimate permanent address and contact information like an email address and phone number? Does the website have a place for customer support and numerous ways for you to get in touch if there’s an issue? If a company’s website seems very bare bones and lacks any way to easily contact its team for help, you may want to look elsewhere for whatever item you were thinking of buying.

Make sure any financial transactions go through verified third-party platforms.

When making a digital purchase, you should never be required to hand over your bank information or credit card number directly to someone online. Legitimate businesses will use third-party financial transaction platforms like PayPal and Stripe, where they store your encrypted credit card information so that the company itself doesn’t have access to it.

When it comes to avoiding a Facebook ad scams, the most important things you can do to protect yourself are not give out any personal information directly, and trust your instincts. If a company feels even just a little off, you can’t take your wallet elsewhere!

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