VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You’re scrolling through Instagram. Someone has a new baby, went on a trip, ate lunch — the usual — then BAM! A beautiful pair of rare or custom sneakers leaps off the screen.
With Black Friday in high gear and Cyber Monday approaching, the Better Business Bureau is warning of a scam that’s been duping some online shoppers.
It starts when you send a direct message to the seller, who responds, and even sends pictures of the kicks you’re anxious to receive.
They push for you to pay using an app like Venmo, Facebook Pay, or CashApp – which Karla Davis with the BBB says should be a red flag.
“These options are not ideal because of the fact they were originally designed to allow transactional exchanges between people who know each other, so friends, family, co-workers,” she says.
But plenty of people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on hard-to-find or custom sneakers, and take that risk.
“Another red flag I would say is look out for complaints,” Davis says. “If you’ve never heard of this seller before, look through the comments under that post or under that sponsored post that may be popping up in your feed.”
Davis says the BBB has received a few dozen complaints from people in the Vancouver area who saw ads on social media from someone claiming to be a collector and reseller.
She says the ads seem legitimate, and it’s hard to tell there’s anything wrong until it’s too late. You go through with it, the sneakers never arrive, you can’t get in touch with the seller and may even be blocked by them on social media.
“Specifically through Instagram, and they never received what they were promised. In most cases, they pay the money and never heard back from the seller again or never received the product at all.”
Davis adds using a credit card is one of the safest ways to pay, because you can cancel the payment through your bank.
If you find you’re a victim — or think you may be — report it to the BBB.