Online shopping warning: Watch out for fake ads on social media

(WSMV file photo)

We all like to shop online for the convenience, but some ads will give you more grief than anything else.

If you're scrolling through Facebook or Instagram right now, you're probably seeing dozens of ads, but not all of them are safe to click on.

Some ads target you based on your past interest in other items or your internet browser history, but they're not all legitimate.

Sometimes what looks like an ad for a brand you like is completely fake. Big-name brands are a target for being duplicated, so you may get something of much poorer quality in the mail.

But how do you know if it's fake? Some red flags to look out for are if the price seems to good to be true or if the image quality in the ad isn't very good.

One scam the BBB is warning consumers about is free trial offers.

Maybe you see a celebrity endorsing the hottest new skincare line and you click to learn more. But once you agree to the terms and conditions and give away your credit card number, you may have unwillingly signed up monthly shipments of $100.

Protecting yourself from scams is as easy as doing a Google search. Type in the name of the company and a keyword like "complaints" or "reviews." If it's a scam, you'll probably be able to tell pretty quickly.

Another thing to watch out for are fake apps. Some apps advertise being able to help you grow Instagram followers. However, once you download something like that, you could be signing up for something that includes subscription fees.

A good way to spot fake apps is to read the reviews in the App Store and to also check for spelling or grammatical errors in the app description.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Rebecca Cardenas is a Murrow-award winning journalist who joined News4 as a reporter in September 2017.

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