INDIANAPOLIS – The Better Business Bureau is sending out a warning about a scam that taps into the anger and frustration of anyone who’s been fired from a job.
According to the BBB, the scammer poses as a disgruntled, former employee, who wants to get back at their former boss by offering you free merchandise. The BBB is getting reports from people who have come across a video on social media posted by someone who claims they just lost their job for unjustified reasons.
To get back at the company, they’re going to share their secret employee discount code so you can get a bunch of stuff for free. All you have to do is pay for shipping.
The scammers often claim to have worked at jewelry stores, so the offer can be enticing. The video contains a link that appears to send you to the store’s website, where you can use the special code.
However, there are some red flags that give this away as a scam, which you can find right there on the fake website.
One consumer told the BBB that as you add items to the cart on the website, the shipping cost jumps disproportionately. However, it still seems like a good deal because the cost of the jewelry is still $0. However, you might notice there’s no cancelation method on the website, or in any email you receive. There are also no social media links, addresses or phone numbers.
If you fall for this, you’ll either get cheap knock-offs or nothing at all, but you’ve still paid the high shipping cost.
While the current version of this scam includes jewelry, the BBB says it could soon evolve to high-priced electronics and handbags.
The BBB offers these tips 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.
If you spot a scam on social media or elsewhere, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker.