Time: ‘Facebook Shopping Scams Have Skyrocketed During the Pandemic’

Andrew R. Chow, reporting for Time:

Further reassured by photos that showed the trees with their creator Kristi Pimentel in her Florida home studio, Hopper ordered three. But there was one problem: Pimentel wasn’t involved at all. Someone was swiping photos from her Etsy and putting them on websites and social media ad campaigns. People would see those pictures and order her trees, and then only receive dollar store flotsam. Edmonson says he got dinky plastic cones, while Hopper says she received a wooden gnome that was “the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” Pimentel, meanwhile, was deluged with dozens of confused or angry customers every day demanding their money back, despite the fact she hadn’t processed any of their orders. […]

These stories aren’t isolated incidents. An almost-identical scene is unfolding over and over in homes across the country and world. Facebook or Instagram users see an ad on their feed for a discounted product. They purchase the item through PayPal, and then a knick-knack of no value arrives.

Facebook, champion of the small business owner.

Saturday, 19 December 2020