The Better Business Bureau is warning holiday shoppers to be on the lookout for fraud when purchasing items from a social media seller.
The latest scam, according to BBB, involves an Instagram seller dealing in rare and unique sneakers. The victim makes their purchase using CashApp, Venmo or another online payment platform, but the sneakers never arrive.
"When you contact the seller, they may promise you a refund, which never materializes," said the BBB press release.
One customer said that after attempting to get a refund "the merchant blocked me on social media where I originally contacted him and he also blocked my number, making me unable to call him."
According to the BBB Scam Tracker, 33 reports of shoppers not receiving the custom or hard-to-find sneakers they purchased have been filed over the past few months.
When making an online purchase, customers are urged to research the seller, reading comments and reviews from other people on the seller's website and social media accounts.
BBB also advises against using payment apps, which were designed to transfer money between family members, when dealing with strangers online.
"No matter how attractive the photographs are or how convincing the testimonial videos seem to be, consumers need to be extremely cautious when shopping on social media platforms," said Karla Davis, BBB's manager of community and public relations.
"Fraudsters are using social media posts or sponsored ads to lure consumers to fake retailer websites that collect credit card information or trick them into spending money for items that they are likely to never receive."