BBB Warning about the Disgruntled Employee Discount Scam

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A Podcast by BBB of the Tri-Counties

A BIG thank you to Ayers Automotive Repairs in Santa Barbara for supporting this podcast.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Your Moment of Trust! Recently, BBB Scam Tracker
has received multiple reports of an online shopping scam on TikTok. It’s a sneaky one! It
starts with a disgruntled employee supposedly seeking revenge and ends with victims
ordering hundreds of dollars in phony merchandise.

How the scam works

You come across a TikTok video featuring someone claiming they were recently fired at
a high-end jewelry store. The termination was completely undeserved, and they are
angry. To take their revenge, they are sharing their top-secret employee discount code
with anyone who wants it. This code gives you up to 100 percent off the company’s
merchandise. That’s right, they claim you can get expensive jewelry for free! As long as
you’re willing to pay shipping, that is.

You may notice some red flags when you checkout using the ex-employee discount
code. One consumer reported: “As you add more things from the website to your cart,
the shipping cost increases disproportionately… However, this still seems like a ‘deal’
because you are getting a 100% discount on (faux) jewelry that costs $100-200.”
However, that’s not the only warning sign. The consumer added, “There is no
cancellation mechanism on their website/order confirmation email, no social media, no
address, and no phone number. You can only contact them via an email address.”

If you fall for this scam, you won’t receive the high-quality jewelry you thought you
ordered. You may get cheaply made knockoffs – or nothing at all. Also, you’ll be out any
money you spent on “shipping” too.

The current version of this scam involves a jewelry store, but watch out for other
variations as scammers change their schemes to avoid detection. This con would work
with high-cost items like electronics or designer handbags.

How to avoid online shopping scams

● Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. Scammers love to draw people in
with this bait. If a deal seems extraordinarily good, stay skeptical. Research the
company thoroughly before you buy.
● Only shop with reputable companies. It’s always best to shop with companies
you already know and trust. That said, if you come across an appealing item from
an unfamiliar business, it’s especially important to do research. Look up the
company’s website, physical address, and contact information. Read reviews
from customers on third-party websites and review comments left on their social
media pages, too. You can even search the company name and the word “scam”
just to be safe.
● Always make payments with your credit card. When shopping online, use your
credit card to pay. Controlling fraudulent charges (and possibly getting your
money back) will be much easier with this payment method.

Until next time!

Check out this episode!

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