SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – We see ads pop up on Facebook offering deals on hot ticket items. Today, a warning to holiday shoppers after a Magna woman was scammed while trying to purchase a holiday gift for her daughter after clicking on one of those ads.
“I was going through Facebook one day and started my holiday shopping online through various retailers and an ad came up for some Ugg boots. I was in the market for some Ugg boots,” said Mindi Hayes.
That Facebook ad offering incredible savings on a pair of Ugg boots was too good not to pass up for Mindi. But, even the most avid and tech-savy shopper can fall victim to scammers. After clicking on the ad she was taken to a website that she assumed was legitimate.
“It’s user friendly, it’s easy to find, it looks legitimate until you get into the meat of the website,” said Mindi.
After placing her order she realized something was not right.
“When I got my confirmation email it just didn’t look legitimate. It was just text, there was no confirmation number or when I could expect it,” she said.
She immediately placed an alert with her credit card company and was told to check back with them if the boots didn’t arrive within a week, the boots never came.
She attempted to contact the company several times, but found no phone number and her emails were never returned. Digging deeper she found the IP address was linked to an overseas account in China, and other discrepancies in the website that should have raised red flags had she looked at the website a little harder.
“I saw that the information wasn’t anything about boots, it was about jersey’s. There was no way to call them, no tracking number was sent…with the retailers you always get an email and it has a logo and they’ll send you tracking information as soon as it ships. It really looked like my 8-year-old could have typed the email,” she said.
She disputed the charge with her credit card company and repurchased the boots from Uggs themselves, but for a woman on a holiday budget she is left $83 in the hole.
“Luckily for me it was only $83. I know that’s not a lot and I’m grateful I didn’t lose more and it was minimal, as compared to what people have been scammed for,” Hayes says. “I just don’t consider myself a stupid person, it just hurt that I did something really stupid by not really investigating, but at the same time, how much investigating as a consumer, when you’re purchasing items do you do?”
Facebook has an extensive review policy and strict advertising guidelines. With no limit on how much can be spent on an ad. It’s the consumers responsibility to know who they’re doing business with before offering up money.
Mindi says she will be more weary of lesser known retailers from now on, and will investigate those companies better before doing any business with them. Mindi says it’s a sad situation because it shakes her confidence in who she can and can’t trust.
” It makes you wonder, but do you trust this retailer or do you shop big names now? Do you shop little shops? And it’s sad ’cause there are those little businesses that may lose business,” she says.