Recently, BBB Scam Tracker has received multiple reports of an online shopping scam on TikTok. It’s a sneaky one! It starts with a disgruntled employee supposedly seeking revenge and ends with victims ordering hundreds of dollars in phony merchandise.
How the scam works
You come across a TikTok video featuring someone claiming they were recently fired at a high-end jewelry store. The termination was completely undeserved, and they are angry. To take their revenge, they are sharing their top-secret employee discount code with anyone who wants it. This code gives you up to 100 percent off the company’s merchandise.
That’s right, they claim you can get expensive jewelry for free! As long as you’re willing to pay shipping, that is.
You may notice some red flags when you checkout using the ex-employee discount code. One consumer reported: “As you add more things from the website to your cart, the shipping cost increases disproportionately… However, this still seems like a ‘deal’ because you are getting a 100% discount on (faux) jewelry that costs $100-200.”
However, that’s not the only warning sign. The consumer added, “There is no cancellation mechanism on their website/order confirmation email, no social media, no address, and no phone number. You can only contact them via an email address.”
If you fall for this scam, you won’t receive the high-quality jewelry you thought you ordered. You may get cheaply made knockoffs – or nothing at all. Also, you’ll be out any money you spent on “shipping” too.
The current version of this scam involves a jewelry store, but watch out for other variations as scammers change their schemes to avoid detection. This con would work with high-cost items like electronics or designer handbags.
How to avoid online shopping scams
- Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. Scammers love to draw people in with this bait. If a deal seems extraordinarily good, stay skeptical. Research the company thoroughly before you buy.
- Only shop with reputable companies. It’s always best to shop with companies you already know and trust. That said, if you come across an appealing item from an unfamiliar business, it’s especially important to do research. Look up the company’s website, physical address, and contact information. Read reviews from customers on third-party websites and review comments left on their social media pages, too. You can even search the company name and the word “scam” just to be safe.
- Always make payments with your credit card. When shopping online, use your credit card to pay. Controlling fraudulent charges (and possibly getting your money back) will be much easier with this payment method.
For more information
For more tips and advice, review the BBB Tip: Smart shopping online. You may find the BBB social media scams page helpful as well. If you spot a scam on social media or elsewhere, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help us build consumer awareness and scammers in their tracks.