A scam targeting online shoppers has recently surfaced.
The scam consists of online advertisements in which media personalities claim to be leaving their jobs to sell skincare products, which then encourage shoppers to input their credit card information to sample the product, although fine print indicates that the shoppers are actually signing up for a monthly subscription. Customers are then instead billed hundreds of dollars.
The popular scam has used the names of media personalities such as CTV National News Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, or CTV’s Marilyn Denis and Melissa Grelo from The Social.
“They prey on this idea that I’m leaving The Social and I’m leaving television to pursue this other lucrative career in some kind of either skin care or cosmetic company,” Grelo said.
Millions of people have reportedly lost money after falling for the scam, with the technique having raked in more than $1 billion worldwide.
Social media expert Amber MacArthur points out that it is easy to fall victim to the ads.
“I’m not surprised that so many people get fooled by these scams because I think we’re a very trusting society, and I think what happens is much of what we see online we assume that it is truthful,” MacArthur said.
It is not just Canadian personalities who are being used to trick shoppers, but the emerging trend is taking place in other countries around the world too – with American authorities working to control the advertisements.