Facebook ads for scam products - I hates them, I does

Christmas is coming, and with it suddenly my Facebook feed is filled with “sponsored” posts promoting highly questionable products. A lot of them seem to come from “companies” with names that look like someone just buttonmashed their keyboard (e.g. “Hnhvoo”) but the stuff they’re purporting to sell is clearly not what buyers will receive.

For example, a couple of them are plugging Loki advent calendars, complete with a picture of 24 little Loki figures you will apparently get. Except that the pictured items are obviously Funko figures, some of which individually cost several times more than what they’re selling the whole advent calendar for. And the calendars are not available on Funko sites, and I’m pretty sure Marvel ain’t giving exclusive licensing to some crappy outfit that only shows up on social media.

So obviously what will happen if you order here is: 1) You will receive a horrible cheap-ass product filled with nasty knock-offs; 2) you will receive nothing; or 3) you will receive nothing and they steal and sell all your payment details (although they seem to favor PayPal so I dunno).

Since Facebook operates on a “you clicked on one, therefore here are a bazillion others” my feed is now filled with lots of similar advent calendars (on different themes), all claiming to be from different incoherently-named companies but used the same texts (“24 little boxes!”) and photoshopped onto the same table. I’ve been amusing myself by posting “scam alert” messages in the comments but honestly, it’s just depressing that they’re doing this. I’ve also reported a few to Facebook but they’ve declined to pursue, unsurprisingly.

TL;DR: Don’t buy products off Facebook, no matter how cool they look.

I always think it’s funny when I see an ad/post that’s been reposted by a friend that says something like ‘Like our page and share this post and comment below telling us what color you’d like a free Ford F150 in, we’re giving away 10 Ford F150s blah blah blah’. But then the website will be ‘FordFreeGiveawayFacebook dot com’. Yeah, no, if Ford was giving away a truck it would be from Ford dot com or a dealership, not a website made up specifically for the giveaway.

Personally, I make liberal use of the “report this ad” button. I mean, I report, literally, every single ad, but you can report these as scams. Plus, you can also hit the ‘don’t show me anything from this advertiser again’. Won’t slow down the amount of ads, but at least you won’t get that one again.

Go into your ad settings, find the section about subjects you liked or advertisers you’ve interacted with or what ever they’re calling it these days and uncheck every. single. one. If you’ve never done this before, you might be surprised to find hundreds of them in there. Also, get Facebook Container to help contain some of this stuff. It might ‘break’ a few other websites, but only websites that are attempting to pass data to or from facebook (since you won’t be logged into facebook on those other websites).
Similarly, FBPurity does a really, really good job of getting rid of all the ‘sponsored posts’ when you’re browsing on computer. If you’re on a phone, at least on your home wifi, a pi-hole will work to a certain extent.

Don’t do that. You know how they used to say that picking interacting with a scam phone call just tells the scammers it’s a live line. The advertiser didn’t even know you existed until you commented on their post. Facebook now shows you as interested in their post, and others like it, they have some limited access to your profile, one more person to get metrics from regarding people willing to engage with them and who knows what else. All those stupid posts you see your friend’s answering about their favorite color or very easy but designed to look difficult logic puzzles or other things along those lines, they exist for the sole purpose of getting people to comment on them and spread their page.
Don’t be part of that.

This is why god created ad blockers.

I’m less bothered that I’m seeing them than I am about their existence in general.

I wonder how other people use Facebook. I don’t use my feed, and post nothing there (well, less than once per year). I just use it for Facebook Messenger. I also have adblock on my PC (but not smartphone) so I rarely see ads there (and never on Youtube).

Facebook’s algorithm pushes extreme content, too. Not deliberately, they just want to keep your eyeballs stuck on the screen. They will push extreme left or right content, whatever it takes to glue your eyeballs. I stopped using Facebook recommended videos because it knew just which videos would stick me to the computer/phone.

Ads that don’t look like obvious scams are even worse.

Last week, I saw a Facebook ad for Hawaiian-type shirts featuring The Muppets. I didn’t recognize the name of the company, but it wasn’t a complete nonsense word either, so I clicked on it, since a shirt like that is exactly the sort of thing I’d like to have.

After coming back to Facebook, all my ads were shirts like that, just featuring different characters - Lego Star Wars, Superheroes, almost anything. But even though the shirt concept is almost the same, and the ad layouts are identical, every ad looks like it’s coming from a different company.

So now I’m convinced it’s some kind of scam.

Which is really sad, because I’d legitimately want to buy the Grover shirt, if I didn’t think I was going to be ripped off.

Protip: Just google the brand or website instead of clicking on an ad.

Otherwise this is what happens:

As I mentioned in my earlier reply, you can go to your ad settings and you’ll find that it now shows you as connected to or otherwise interested in this brand, hawaiian shirts, muppets etc. But you can clear it. Granted, I’m sure FB still remembers you clicked on it, but ad won’t be served based on it.

It’s not a scam. It’s just facebook serving you up more ads based on one you clicked on. It’s how they make money.
ETA, to clarify, whatever website you went to may be a scam, but the fact that you got more ads for it is just how facebook works.

There is an advert for a fancy metallic yard whirligig, with the ad copy moaning that they are so sad that they have to go out of business…but I check, and they have only been in business for a month. I report it as fraud to Facebook and the response was to tell me that I wouldn’t see that particular advert anymore. The trouble is that the exact same picture and the exact same ad copy is popping up under dozens of different names, with the same people commenting about how wonderful the item is. The ONLY response from Facebook is that I won’t see that particular advert any more. They don’t give a flying fuck about fraud, as long as they get their cut.

Pretty much.

For a while, I was getting the same ads for a Dungeons & Dragons advent calendar, showing a bunch of dice and minis. It was an obvious Photoshop job but I saw a few people asking around about it or thinking it looked really cool. My own guess was that it was probably a fake but, if you DID nominally get the product, it would likely be a polyhedral die behind 90% of the doors since you can buy a set of dice off AliExpress for a couple bucks. You could easily seed a $30 calendar with $10 worth of wholesale dice.

Speaking of dice, I used to constantly get ads for “We finally opened our new dice store and are giving away these unique dice for free to celebrate!” (plus $9 S/H). I’d find the exact same dice for $3 shipped on AliExpress and post the link.

And, yeah, all the Sadly Closing Our Store ads where either the store was open for a month or it’s really “discontinuing this specific product line” but making it sound like a closing. Even if the items/prices are legit, the framing is scam-tastic.

I happen to know that all of the ads for this particular yard whirligig are frauds. A friend did research on the item and found out that the people who make it are only selling it through their own shop. I reported this to Facebook and got no response, of course.

Those of us around in the mid-1990s were taught “never click on an internet ad.” Advice I’ve followed ever since. If I want something on-line, I’ll search for the item or company.

I wonder how other people use Facebook. I don’t use my feed, and post nothing there (well, less than once per year). I just use it for Facebook Messenger. I also have adblock on my PC (but not smartphone) so I rarely see ads there (and never on Youtube).

I do the same thing. This discussion to me is like when people gripe about how nasty the bad part of town is. I just wonder why they go there.

By the way, today quoting is broken for me. I highlight your text and tap “quote” and it does nothing. I even forced a restart on my phone. I don’t know what’s up with the SDMB today.

ETA: Weird, I can quote other people, not just your post…

Yeah, I’m aware that this is how Facebook works. And I’m actually okay with getting all these ads instead of some other kind of crap ads, since at least the pictures of the shirts look nice. Things could be worse.

What really bothers me though, is that these guys don’t have to be scam artists to make money. The idea for these shirts is actually quite good, and I would actually buy one if I thought I could trust them.

Technically, the shirts don’t have to be a scam. They could just be getting made with little regard for trademark/intellectual property infringement. You could go on AliExpress and find a lot of stuff along those lines; all the bootleg Lego, Star Wars, superhero, etc things you could shake a credit card at.

Which is (part of) why they’re not making those shirts legitimately – getting the licensing from Disney for Muppets, Star Wars, Marvel, etc would cost a mint even if they had sincere interest.

I saw something similar on Amazon the other day. I was looking for a particular stuffed animal and there were over a dozen listings all with the same image and different company names that looked like a cat walked over the keyboard.

I tried to send someone a Facebook message today and it didn’t work.

So it turns out turning into a Monopoly isn’t such a good idea. (All those products are owned by the same company. It’s probably not a hack, but a problem with integrating all of them. Nobody outside of Facebook knows for sure yet though.)

Any time something shows up in my Facebook feed as “Sponsored” or “Recommended for you” I click on Hide this ad, then when asked why I check “Irrelevant” and then “Hide all from XXXX”. This may or may not be messing with whatever algorithm they use to select these things, but I figure it couldn’t hurt.

Apparently someone at facebook put in a change that deleted all their DNS information from global routing tables. No word on whether this was an accident or internal sabotage. Their domain even showed up as being available for purchase today.

I usually choose ‘repetitive’. My thinking is that they’ll serve me less ads if I suggest that I’m getting the same ones over and over. If I pick irrelevant that actually provides them with more data (that this is something you’re not interested in) and gives them reason to mine more information from you.
Sometimes I’ll just pick spam or scam. Honestly, I don’t really care, I just pick something (but not irrelevant).

Is it possible the domain renewal notice just fell through the cracks. I feel like that’s happened with some other big places.