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How to Spot an Online Shopping Scam When You See One - Part 3

Sarah Peak the creator of "What I Bought Vs What I Got" gives LifeHakx and you, some advice on how to avoid being scammed online .

Scammers are getting more daring and major social media platforms are doing nothing to stop them. Scammers take genuine artists and designers products and steal their images to trick people out of their money. Sarah and her team work continuously to identify, track and expose these scams. Here is part three of the top tips and Hakx to avoid being scammed.


30. Positive reviews are often fake, negative reviews rarely are. If there are negative reviews and they all have pretty much the same complaint, it doesn’t matter how many positive reviews about how great the site is there are. The negatives have it.

31. Another tactic of scam sites is to flood search engines with nonsense so, as you're scrolling down in your search, you see nothing but sales, and coupons, and any other information they can throw out there to keep you from getting to the page where the negative reviews start. Keep scrolling.

32. All of the model's heads are cropped off.

33. Scam sites put up photos of very wholesome American looking individuals claiming they are the “founders” of the site and include a long, drawn-out backstory (definitely give THAT a Google).

34. Scam sites use a “Facebook pixel” to identify and steal audiences. If you look at something, anything, you will then be bombarded with advertising for fakes of what you were looking at. It’s called retargeting.

35. Photoshopped photos (sometimes this is very obvious, sometimes it’s not).

36. Sites claim to be closing with huge discounts and refer to the pandemic as “this disaster” (an indication that they are China based, regardless of where they claim to be located), and claim time of production or shipping have been affected.

37. Legitimate stores generally have Covid-19 warnings and information on how the site is dealing with it.

38. Always check their Facebook webpage for detailed review or angry emoji provided by victims or Scambusters who are working behind the scene to warn people to stay safe.

Looking at their website reviews NOT Facebook webpage, 99.9% are fake because they are set up with ‘’internal reviews system’’. Those reviews have been provided by fake accounts or the writer is being paid to share false advertisements.

39. Scam pages have specific formats that they all use. If it looks like a scam page, it probably is.

40. The little roulette wheel that pops up upon opening the page is a good tell. So is the little box that asks for your email address. I love how they say things like, “No, I don’t want to save 15% on my first purchase.”

41. There is more than one version of the scam page on Facebook. They love to clone themselves so that if one of their pages is shut down or receives negative reviews, they can keep scamming.

42. There are photos that show people taking their photo in a mirror with their cellphone. This is not a tactic that legitimate businesses employ. Photos like this have been stolen from personal social media accounts.

43. There is no consistency in the backgrounds of the photos. The smaller websites cannot afford to have photos taken in hundreds of different locations. If every background is different, it is certainly a scam.

44. There are little popup windows claiming so-and-so from such-and-such just purchased blah-blah-blah.

45. The name of the store in the About Us is different than the name of the page. Often times, scammers forget to change the name of the site on the information pages.

46. The site looks exactly the same as dozens of other scam sites.

48. A reverse photo search turns up many versions of the same shirt (photoshopped) on hundreds of other scam sites, making it virtually impossible to tell where the item originally came from.

On a side note, before reporting a scam site to Facebook (once you have done this the ad will disappear from your page only), first comment with, “Go to the What I Bought vs. What I Got making purchases from this site (and others like it).” This stays up longer than a negative comment will and directs people to WIB vs. WIG. Next, put up an “angry” emoji. These cannot be removed by the owner of the ad or page like comments can.

Check out the next interview with Lifehakx Media "I Love What I Bought " a list of reputable companies where the products you want actually come from!

Please support WIBWIG as with the constant flow of scammers our work load is never ending!


(Anatomy of a scam page photos courtesy of Eugene Lin, a former admin at WIBWIG.)


Meet The Team


Eva Wisenbeck

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Eva Wisenbeck is a Co-Presenter of LifeHakx & a Wellness Coach

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Mary Collins

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Mary Collins is the Creator and Presenter of LifeHakx Media.

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