Facebook is preparing for the expected explosion in online shopping this holiday season, teaming up with the Better Business Bureau on the “Shop Safe, Shop Smart” campaign to help educate people about online scams.
The campaign kicked off Tuesday and will run throughout December.
BBB and Facebook will run ads and post organic content on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms to share actionable tips on how to spot, avoid, and report scams online, with a different set of tips each week.
Those tips will also be featured on the BBB’s campaign website.
Facebook will also become a founding member of the BBB Corporate Trust Council, a coalition of select companies joining forces with the BBB Institute to provide expertise, resources and funding support to build a trustworthy marketplace.
And the social network entered into a partnership with BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division, including its Fast-Track SWIFT Program, under which the NAD will directly share the outcome of cases related to specific ad campaigns with Facebook, enabling its enforcement teams to quickly take action on ads that violate its policies while encouraging more ethical practices among advertisers.
Facebook head of business integrity product management Rob Leathern said in a statement, “Keeping people safe on Facebook is core to our mission, and that includes creating a shopping experience that everyone can feel confident to enjoy. Working with BBB on this program will ensure that this topic is top-of-mind for people while they are interacting with loved ones and businesses online this holiday season.”
BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust executive director Melissa Lanning Trumpower added, “Online purchase scams were among the top three riskiest scams for the past three years, according to our latest research. So far in 2020, online purchase scams make up more than two-thirds of the reports we receive from consumers through BBB Scam Tracker. Facebook’s partnership means that we will be able to reach many more consumers with important information about how to stay safe online.”
With the National Retail Federation projecting that consumers will spend an average of just under $1,000 this holiday season, BBB and Facebook shared the following tips for shopping online:
- Research before you buy: According to BBB’s recent Online Purchase Scams Report, out of the 57% of those survey participants who did not research the website or business via an independent source like BBB.org before making a purchase, 81% lost money.
- If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is: The top motivating factor for people who made a purchase and lost money was price, according to BBB research. Don’t shop on price alone.
Beware of fake websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information and read online reviews.
- Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer: BBB survey respondents reported that website photos motivated them to engage with scammers, especially for pets/pet supplies, clothing/accessories and vehicles. Be sure to check the product description and inquire for detailed information to ensure that what you see is what you’ll get.
- Make sure the website is secure: Look for the “https” in the URL (the extra s is for “secure”) and a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “http”—it is not secure.
- Be careful purchasing sought-after products, especially during the holiday season: Be wary if a retailer claims to have loads of that trendy product that cannot be found anywhere else. Scammers often use the most popular products for the season at great prices to reel in consumers.
- Look for the BBB seal: BBB Accredited Businesses pledge to uphold the BBB Standards for Trust and to deal fairly with consumers. If a business displays a BBB seal, verify it by going to BBB.org.
- Use secure and traceable transactions and payment methods: According to BBB’s research, those who paid with a credit card were less likely to lose money. Be cautious when paying by cash transfer applications, prepaid money cards or other non-traditional payment methods.
- Shipment tracking information can be faked: Look closely to make sure the tracking information comes from a legitimate shipping company. If the information seems fishy, avoid clicking on the tracking link; go to the shipper’s website and type in the code to see if it is real.
- Report unsatisfactory purchase experiences to BBB: If you are unhappy with a purchase, file a complaint at BBB.org/complain. If you never got what you paid for, consider reporting it to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker) to help other consumers avoid being scammed.