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Social media feeds are flooded with ads offering steep discounts on brand-name products, including luxury items. But are these offers real or a scam? When a low-priced “deal” pops into your socials, take a closer look before you buy. Here’s why.

Scammers often impersonate real companies on social media, offering what seems like an incredible deal for brand-name products at super low prices. But if you buy, you might not get what you ordered: you might get a knock-off…or nothing at all.

To avoid these scams, walk away from ads that promise something expensive at bargain basement prices. But if you’re still interested in the product and need to find out more:

  • Research the seller outside the platform. Search the name of the seller plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.” Use a search engine, though, not the social media site. See if others have had problems with that retailer.
  • Compare prices. What does that product sell for other places? Is it ever that deeply discounted? If not, what are the chances this is a real deal? Slim to none.
  • Read the terms of the deal. Check out the seller’s website to find out about warranties, return policies, shipping times, and cost? How will you contact the company if you have questions or a problem? If you can’t find this information, walk away.
  • Pay by credit card. You get the most protection when you pay with a credit card. If you don’t get what you ordered, dispute the charge.

And, never buy anything from online sellers who insist you only pay with gift cardswire transferspayment apps like Apple Pay, CashApp, PayPal, or Zelle, or cryptocurrency. That’s a sign of a scam. Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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Unusually low prices for brand-name products? That's a sign of a scam
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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

joseph D tate
May 13, 2024

I find scams all the time on Facebook, they copy and past from other web sites . Example 1/2 Snap on impact wrench 80.00 , it scam Snap on cost up to 800.00 they several items on site . And Big retailer is not doing so good so be watching Walmart online , this is one from today and remember you walking in on what they want you think you are saving and with Google search they price fixing ,Vlogging Camera 4K Digital Camera for Youtube Autofocus with 32GB SD Card, 180° Flip Screen 16X Digital Zoom 48MP Video Cameras Camcorder for PhotographyNow $71. 99
You save
$138.0 this camera don't cost no 209.99 and you not saving anything they won't you to think you are and to me that wrong so they sell product , you can do quick search and find out what it really cost and it not 209.99 , then Walmart puts same thing on different price and what it should cost from start ,4K Digital Camera for Photography and Video Autofocus Anti-Shake, 48MP Camera with SD Card, 3'' 180° Flip Screen Compact Camera with Flash, 16X Digital Zoom Travel Camera
$54. 99 same thing Walmart is price fixing to get you think you getting good deal .I no it about money but to me they running marketing scam to customers .

Chris Albertson
May 13, 2024

Got cheated with one if these "deals" but was refused a disputed payment because the seller produced a USPS receipt to "prove" SOMETHING was sent and delivered....only it never actually was delivered....further online research showed others had received either empty envelope through the mail or used rags! My bad....it was too good to be true.

Ruth
May 13, 2024

In reply to by Chris Albertson

I learned to look companies up to see if they are legit, etc. And, when I use a new company, I use Paypal. I don't know why this site says not to. Paypal will look into the company for you and negotiate with them. Once I received 1/4 of my cost back and once I received it all back.

THOMAS ALOISI
May 13, 2024

The scammers have figured that if they rip you off and you dispute the change with your bank, there is a good chance that the bank will just give you the money back and never go after the scammers. This happened to me in 2023. I disputed a charge, and in less than 30 seconds I received a message from my bank saying that they were refunding the money- likely because it's easier and less expensive to put $40 in a customers account than to go to after a scammer in China. This is also probably why the costs for these items is usually under $50. Scammers know the bank will pay it back, or the customer will forget about it because it's not a huge loss.

Melba Olsen
May 13, 2024

I recently fell for 2 diffeent "great" price items...I never got anything from them, and could find no way to contact them. Luckily I paid with a VISA card, and my payments were refunded.

Michael Gallion
May 13, 2024

I've been getting an advertisement on FB about Gibson giving away Les Paul guitars because of package damage and all I needed to pay was $9.99 in shipping. The spokesperson for the ad was Steve Vai and he was doing it for Sweetwater Sound. When I looked at the reviews of people who actually got guitars their FB posts were very similar. Same topics same posts. A few days later same ad came on FB only it was for another music company but it was still Steve Vai making the pitch. My first thought was had to be legit because of Steve Vai and Sweetwater sound. If this was AI generated it's pretty scary because it was so real.

Moses Raquepo
May 15, 2024

How come AI can use false advertisement in all their promotions on social media. The voice recognition part in other words. Joe Rogan and Elon musk are having a sit-down supposedly talking about a money scheme app can Rogan sue the app that's a hoax anyway defamation or something

Pokey
May 20, 2024

usually if its a low price its stolen goods/ maybe even some of the mob retail thieves? IT has to stop somewhere. If they cant sell their goods maybe this nonsense will stop or at least decrease. It only makes the prices go up for everyone.

I would rather you people work on STOPPING THE ROBO CALLS. OFFER PPL HELP when their phone # is found on the dark web...This has gone on for FAR TOO LONG

Fay D Kelky
May 21, 2024

Temu is one of the worst for cheap scrap at very low prices until they try to get people hooked on buying from them but y'all still let them b with everything! BAN THEM FO THE USA! Everything is made in CHINA for very cheap labor! I've seen too many people get ripped off by them! I guess y'all like the money in your pockets more than the quality people get!

delores
May 23, 2024

I was researching mini fridges & saw a great price. I ordered it & my credit card was charged $69.95. I received a handkerchief in the mail & filed a dispute with American Express which took over a month to resolve and much time spent by me. I finally had to mail all evidence to American Express which involved registered mail expenses of over $20.00 and a lot of inconvenience. I had contacted Amex early on & told them I had reservations about the company. They said "Wait and see whether the merchandise arrives." Then when only a handkerchief arrived, they were definitely not helpful with my dispute of the charge.