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How to spot fake beauty product deals

Updated: Feb 1

Being conned is a gut-churning experience. It's a fast track to self-loathing and strife nobody wants in their life. That is why we want to highlight fake beauty product deals - to help stop you from becoming a victim.

Beauty products shown in a small shopping basket

Most of us have had that sinking feeling over a purchase. That realisation that 'something isn't quite right' is often followed by a sense of panic. Maybe, you placed an order and never received a confirmation email. Or, perhaps, that item you purchased a month ago still hasn't arrived. Maybe, you've been charged twice.

Being ripped off can leave you feeling depressed, angry and really disappointed - especially if the product you thought you were buying was a gift or something you have wanted for a while.

The best way to avoid being scammed and putting yourself through a shed-load of turmoil is to learn how to recognise a potential fraud when you see one.

It is often easier said than done, with more and more scammers finding ways to reach beauty lovers through trusted channels.

Try to remember the points we raise in this feature because they could save you hard cash the next time you spot an 'unmissable' makeup or skincare offer.

Common Beauty Product Scams

Remember that beauty advent chest that took your fancy a year ago? It was sparkly, big and filled with high-end cosmetics. Christ, it even came with diamond-cut knobs. You really wanted it, but it was way too expensive. Like, £200 expensive.

Wait up! One year on and the exact same chest, filled with the exact same premium beauty products, is on sale - for £29.99.

Too good to be true? Almost certainly.

Online shopping shopping card with PC monitor

This isn't a made-up story. Last year's advent offering from Charlotte Tilbury has been advertised on Facebook for under £30 and there's even free postage if you order two or more. As if...

The seller, a completely unknown brand, claims to be a foreign manufacturer with surplus stock.

In the comments below the ad are two or three images of the chest in people's homes, on kitchen tables and a windowsill, accompanied by rave views. 'Exactly as advertised.' 'Can't wait to open.' 'Arrived really quickly.'

But keep going down the list of 'All Comments' (not 'Relevant Comments') and you will start to see a completely different picture. The positive feedback has almost exclusively been left by alleged customers in far-flung corners of the globe. Not one is from the UK.

What you will find posted from the UK are 'Hasn't arrived yet' and 'Why don't you accept PayPal?'.

Let me tell you something - most con artists will want you to impart your bank details or wire money to them. They won't want to use PayPal because it has built-in security and money-back features. Requests for payment via a money transfer are a huge red flag. Don't do it - e-v-e-r!

As well as not receiving what you ordered, you could end up losing way more than the price of that fake beauty product deal.

Even if an offer like this does lead to a delivery, it may not be exactly what you bargained for. The products could be fake and dangerous. You could receive an empty box or something worth far less than the £29.99 you paid.

The beauty product deal we have highlighted above could be genuine, but we seriously doubt it. You know what they say... If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

We would urge anyone tempted by this, or a similar, offer to give it the widest possible berth!

Other beauty product scams to be aware of include:

  • Counterfeit products

  • Bait and switch cons

  • Fraudsters posing as well-known brands or official retailers of branded products

Fake Beauty Product Deals and General Fraud

When the Shieldpay Fraud Tracker was launched, it reported that one in four Brits had fallen victim to online fraud. That was in 2018 when online shopping was nowhere near as popular as it is now. Today, in part thanks to Covid-19, we take buying online with a pinch of salt; it is an everyday thing for many of us. It is easy to forget that not every deal you see online is genuine.

Online fraudster

While banks have made massive strides in detecting fraud, they can't protect against every scam. And the chances of you getting back all your money after being conned are relatively small if you have willingly transferred cash or given out your bank details.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales reported that there were an estimated 3,863,000 fraud offences against adults in England and Wales in the year ending June 2019. That's just the frauds people reported. While it did not specify how many of the offences were committed online, the eye-watering figure does give you an idea of the scale of fraud. It's huge. And guess what? The detection rates weren't available. Clearly, very low.

Take Five is a brilliant national campaign that aims to educate consumers, so they don't fall victim to a scam. It covers a wide range of topics - from identity theft to pay upfront fraud. It's worth giving their website a visit.

How to Stay Safe When Buying Online

Here's our brief guide to avoiding scams:

  1. Buy from trusted brands and websites, such as Amazon, Revolution Beauty, Boots and Superdrug. Don't forget to support small UK-based businesses with good feedback too

  2. Don't be tempted to fall for too-good-to-be-true offers

  3. Check out a brand's website before buying. Look for reviews via TrustPilot and make sure the website is secure and not a copy of a genuine site

  4. Be aware of a seller's returns policy

  5. Never pay by bank transfer

Good businesses have websites that show a physical address, active social media channels and happy customers. Which? recommends websites that show an actual email address, rather than a form. However, many genuine businesses deliberately don't show a direct email address to avoid being inundated with spam.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact Action Fraud.

Find yourself doubting a deal? Listen to that voice in your head that is asking: 'Is this a scam?' And convince yourself it is.

* All the services we offer on this website are completely free - including membership to our brand-new Beauty Club. We do not accept payments of any kind. We even buy all the products we review.

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1 Comment

Nov 30, 2022

This is a helpful post and well timed to prevent any disappointment with gift purchases this year!

The Curious Dig

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