What to look out for when you come across suspicious social media ads

NOW: What to look out for when you come across suspicious social media ads

Many of you who have a Facebook profile may occasionally shop or browse through Facebook's Marketplace for some great deals.  

Recently, I went on Marketplace to find a used computer chair for my home office, only to come across some suspicious sponsored ads.  

Here is a screen shot from my phone.   

I noticed the same picture of crossbows in a store- side by side. 

Both have sponsored under the page name.  

And on the bottom, you’ll see 'Bankruptcy Sale' with a price and a 'Shop Now' button.  

Only $31.03. What a deal, right?  

Be careful, before clicking the 'Shop Now' button, do a little research. Five minutes is all it takes. 

Then, later on that day, I went back into Marketplace and saw this sponsored ad. It was the same picture, Bankruptcy Sale, but cheaper than the previous two ads, and a different page owner.  

I started to research the background of the crossbow company associated with these ads.  

TenPoint crossbow is a company out of Ohio, and they have a legit website and Facebook page.  

These are three pages side by side all with the same profile picture for TenPoint crossbow technology.  

According to the sales manager for TenPoint crossbow, Randy Wood, these are not pages associated with his company, and they are not going out of business. 

“We are not going bankrupt," Wood said. "We are not running any Facebook marketplace ads like this we've seen over the last probably 10 days, a huge rash of them. Like we're getting 10, 15, 20 calls from consumers a day asking about these and they're just they're everywhere right now for us and it looks like a variety of other companies as well.”  

I looked up the actual page for the sponsored ad first, before hitting the 'Shop Now' button, and reviewed the Facebook page.  

I did that for all of the ads and here's what I found.  

The Facebook page 'MyLife' has the TenPoint crossbow logo.  

It also has a location of Kampala, Uganda in the intro portion.  

There are some regular posts on the page that look legit, but if you pay attention and look at the about portion of the page, you'll notice the contact information is an international phone number.  

The real company identified from Randy is based in Ohio.

MyLife's email shows a personal yahoo email, and their website is not a TenPoints website.  

Other pages for sponsored ads have similar red flags on their pages.  

Randy wood tells me he has made multiple reports to Facebook.  

“I've reported on a variety of levels like on the on the ones that don't appear to be kind of copying our website," he said. "I'm reporting those scams on the ones where they're using our logos and that sort of thing. You know, there's, you know, copyright and trademark infringements. And I've addressed Facebook with those, and we've gotten response and they've taken at least one of those sites down.” 

You can report suspicious ads or Facebook pages by clicking the three dots on the right side of the page.

Then, click 'find support' or 'report.'

There will be a list of options.  

I'll leave you with three things to keep in mind. 

  • Go to the home page of the sponsored Facebook ad.  

  • Look at the intro, about page and reviews.  

  • Google the company. See if they’re really going out of business.   

Just five minutes of research can potentially save you from providing your credit or debit information from getting into the wrong hands. 

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