Interview edited for clarity and length.
FRED FLETCHER-FIERRO (HOST) : It’s Morning Edition on KRPS; I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro. Joining me this morning is the Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri Stephanie Garland. Good morning Stephanie and thank you for your time.
STEPHANIE GARLAND (GUEST) : Good morning Fred. Thank you.
FRED : You know as soon as that calendar flips from October to November it instantly feels like holiday shopping season. These last two months of the year go so far. These last two months of the year go so fast. And a lot of us are on social media and a lot of us are seeking ads pop up in our social media feeds, wherever they are. But you have some tips that maybe we should think twice about shopping throughout social media feed.
STEPHANIE : Absolutely. So something for people to keep in mind too, is Better Business Bureau has now been warning for a couple of weeks now for people to start the holiday shopping, but because people are trying to go ahead and get ahead of the shortages and all the things that are going on right now, that means, unfortunately, scammers are also trying to get ahead and they’re trying to steal money from you during this Christmas time, this holiday season.
So what we want for you to watch out for is scams on social media, such as on Facebook. Or on Instagram, you may see those super cute little kids’ toys that pop up, or even it looks like a really great clothing item that you think that your significant other is going to want, or maybe even your Mom or your Dad.
But unfortunately it’s not going to be legitimate many of the times. So a Better Business Bureau has seen that there are actually name brand goods that are prime targets for an unauthorized duplication. This can be anything from sporting goods, such as shoes, designer apparel handbags. If you purchase any of these products, you may run the risk of not only receiving a poor quality product that usually arrives late, but it also might not meet the environmental and safety regulations either.
So watch out for the red flag. Poor customer service, grammatical errors, poor spelling. If it’s way too inexpensive, it’s a way too cheap. It doesn’t even make sense. Then that should be a red flag for you. If everything on the website, as marked down to one particular price, such as $99, that should be a huge red flag for you and your family.
FRED : Absolutely. Just using some common sense and saying that deal looks too good to be true. You know, when it’s on a more reputable website wherever that is, at a much higher cost. What it should be.
STEPHANIE : Oh for sure. And you know, what else is interesting is people are downloading apps of unknown origin because they’re seeing it on Facebook or Instagram. At a lot of times when you’re scrolling through your feed, you download these apps. It’s supposed to be something free, a free game, a free test. But buyer beware by downloading the supposed free app.
Not only are you opening up your device to an unknown entity, but you also could possibly be signing up for the reoccurring subscription fees. So victims have reported to better business bureau being charged fees as high as $99 every seven days. So before you enter your username and your password, read all the reviews go to actually the app store, read the reviews about the app.
You can go to bbb.org to see if the app is legitimate, read about the developer. And of course, read the description of the app carefully and look for spelling and grammatical errors. And of course, almost a hundred dollars every week. That adds up quite quick.
FRED : Absolutely. Are you receiving reports of that in the Four States area?
STEPHANIE : We’re receiving reports near this area, so we’re warning about that particular piece before it comes into the Four State region.
FRED : Absolutely. If you’re seeing it someplace else, somebody will report it back to you. Also, something we talked about previously, free trial offers. I mean, they look good up-front but you’ve told me previously that once you sign up for one of these offers it can be really difficult to stop the payment on this company. That it ends up being something that you don’t want anyway.
STEPHANIE : It can be. And you know what free trial offers, many of them are actually misleading advertisements. They’re saying that there are celebrity endorsements, they’re promising a trial of the hottest new skincare or a nutritional supplement. But what consumers are actually reporting to us is that once they agree to the terms, the conditions of these offers.
They realize they have to agree to multiple monthly shipments for products and access of $70 to a hundred dollars each. So again, that’s another way of adding up and if you can imagine, if it’s going to be something that’s every month, it’s a hundred dollars. Well, then you’re just wasting $1,200 off.
FRED : Stephanie Garland, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau in Springfield, Missouri. Thank you for your time.
STEPHANIE : Thank you