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Watch Out For Impostors

Are you buying from a televised shopping network? Watch out for impostors.

‘Tis the season for shopping, and scammers are taking advantage by impersonating television shopping networks. BBB Scam Tracker is seeing an influx of scam reports about con artists impersonating networks like QVC and HSN to sell shoppers products that don’t exist.

How this scam works

You come across an ad on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or another social media network that appears to have been published by QVC, HSN, or another well-known shopping network. The ad may even contain a video of a televised shopping event with hosts you recognize.

However, when you click on the link, it takes you to a website different from the official site. Scammers offer excellent deals on this imitation site, hoping it distracts you from noticing where you’ve landed.

One consumer shared this experience: “I saw a post on Facebook and thought I was ordering a toaster from the QVC Outlet. When the toaster never arrived, I checked my email and found a message stating it was already delivered, but it never was. I then went to the post office and gave them the tracking number they provided. They told me it wasn’t legitimate. So, I called QVC directly. They told me the outlet does not sell items on Facebook.” After making a purchase, another consumer realized they weren’t on the official site and requested a refund. The company said they would provide one but have yet to do so.

Unfortunately for these shoppers, they lost their money, and their details are now in the hands of a disreputable business.

How to avoid similar scams: 

  • Double-check the URL. Always ensure you are on a company’s official website, not an impostor site. Look at the URL closely to confirm it contains no minor spelling errors designed to fool less cautious consumers.
  • Be wary of ads on social media. Scammers use social media ads to trick consumers in a plethora of ways. Research before clicking on an ad with a deal you’re interested in. Search for complaints in the comments section and do a Google search on the business and exchange.
  • Search for previous complaints. Do a Google search of the business name followed by “complaints,” “reviews,” or “scam” and see what pops up. If you find this business has cheated other people, steer clear.

Read the full alert for more tips

For more information

Stay safe by reviewing BBB’s tips for smart shopping online. See the latest online shopping scams and avoid common cons. Check out BBB’s online shopping HQ for more resources and this article about phony social media ads

If you spot a holiday shopping scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker

Want more of these emails? Subscribe to BBB’s weekly Scam Alerts.