Beware of shopping and sales scams this holiday season – NBC Connecticut

Shopping this holiday season?

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season approaching, Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut wants to warn shoppers about potential online scams.

Unfortunately there are a lot of snakes there. Just ask Kevin Patrick and Ayde Gallagher – the couple run a licensed and legal reptile breeding facility in Berlin.

They say the business has become very popular online, not only for promoting their business, but also for educating people about snakes.

“What’s not so good about social media, unfortunately, is that you expose yourself to a lot of bad exposure, which means scams, and it has happened to us,” said Ayde Gallagher.

This summer, they say they learned that someone was spoofing their business on Facebook, using their photos, videos and personal information to deceive interested customers.

“You could say that imitation is flattery, but not in this case because it is to rip people off, good people.”

“Someone using our image to rip people off. It literally made us sick, ”she said.

“There are definitely red flags out there,” said Jackie MacKnight, BBB vice president of marketing, communications and community relations serving Connecticut.

As the holiday season draws closer, the BBB is warning consumers of countless social media shopping scams.

“Whether you’re on TikTok, you’re on Craigslist or (Facebook) Marketplace, Instagram. You just have to watch out for these ads. You have to be careful about who wants to buy a product from you and where you buy the product, ”MacKnight said.

Ads like the one Karlyn Gilmore from Bristol says she clicked on last Christmas.

“An ad popped up who these really cute mittens were.”

But she says after placing her order, Gilmore found out she had been ripped off.

“Two weeks came, three weeks came, four weeks came,” she said her package never arrived.

Gilmore told NBC CT that the tracking number she received was not real.

Lots of bounced emails and complaints later, the so-called company finally sent him something completely different.

Her advice to consumers: “Don’t buy something just because you think it’s cute. I unfortunately did and learned my lesson for sure.

With cash flow tight during the coronavirus crisis, Gilmore is urging people to stop and think before buying a gift online this holiday season.

“I’ll check it out first. If I am going to buy something online it must be from a reputable establishment or if not, I will read the reviews.

The BBB suggests the same.

“If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” MacKnight warns.


– Make sure you are browsing a secure website.

-Beware of spelling and grammar errors on the page.

–Search for the item’s brand, company, or website with the word “complaint,” then really take the time to read the reviews.

–Pay with a credit card when you buy something online for added protection.

MacKnight advises, “Get out, you know, from the purchase and really make sure it’s from an honest, reputable seller.”

And that brings us back to the Gallagher’s, who say that despite numerous complaints to Facebook, the suspicious account still exists.

“I’ve done everything except you know, emailing, you know, like Mark Zuckerberg himself, but it didn’t go anywhere,” said Ayde Gallagher.

So, they took matters into their own hands, warning interested customers that they would only connect via email and then follow up with a video call. This way you can see them face to face with a snake instead of falling for a scythe.

“How dare they take a hobby that we love and try to make an illegal profit like this and rip off such good people who really love animals like us,” she said.

NBC CT is working to help KPG Snakes take the Copy Profile offline.

Facebook did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Facebook website offers tips for spotting and avoiding scams.

The BBB also suggests that consumers check out these tips as well.

If you’ve been scammed, BBB asks you to help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience to:

The Better Business Bureau is warning people who sell items online to be careful about the personal information you provide.


Sell ​​this holiday season?

If you’ve cleaned out your closet or garage looking to make a buck or two, the BBB is also warning of a new scam on sale.

The one where the scammer asks you to prove that you, the seller, is not a fraud and this is where trustworthy people get tricked.

MacKnight says you’ll most likely meet him quickly if you put something up for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or even TikTok like she did: “I was just selling my mom’s furniture and listed about four or five items. different. And as soon as I listed those things on the site, I had four or five, six people who said they were interested.

But it’s what potential buyers asked next that raised a red flag.

MacKnight explains, “And they said, ‘May I have your phone number?’ No, you can’t get my phone number.

These potential crooks had no idea who they were kidding, the vice president of Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut.

“A lot of times people will fall into the trap and just give out their phone number. You really need to protect your personal information, ”she warns.

While sharing your phone number sounds simple and harmless, you give it to people all the time, right?

MacKnight says the trick here is that the scammer says he’s going to text you a six-digit code that he wants you to send back to him to prove you’re a real person.

“Once you give them that code, then they have your phone number registered as a Google voice phone number.”

And that’s where they can get you.

The BBB claims that the scammer can now use a Google Voice account, which he created with your phone number, to carry out other scams, which in many cases makes the scammer appear to the foreigner has a number based in the United States.

Just as MacKnight warned us about NBC CT Reporter Caitlin Burchill listed an article she had online. Within 20 minutes, a potential buyer asked her for a phone number to prove she wasn’t a scammer.

Red flag.

Google Voice offers steps on its site to help you recover your voice number.

Google told NBC CT, “Google has put in place countermeasures and we are taking action regarding the Google Voice accounts created as part of this program. It should be noted that the scam largely uses a person’s phone number to help the scammer appear as if they have access to a US-based phone. It shouldn’t impact the scammed person in any other way.

They say there are similar scams out there, so never share these “one-time” passwords with people you don’t know.

“Scammers are everywhere, you just have to take that extra time to watch,” MacKnight said.

She suggests people take a look at these other tips before selling anything online:

  • General Tips / Scams Regarding FB Marketplace Selling:

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