/ Scams

Scam alert: fake Gymshark Facebook ads

An advert appearing on Facebook doesn’t mean the retailer behind it is genuine. Here’s why it’s important to do your research before heading to the checkout.

This week we published extensive research into consumer attitudes, knowledge and behaviour relating to scams on social media platforms, with a focus on Facebook due to its size and influence.

As a result, it’s a good time to show exactly why we have such concerns, with social media users contacting us regularly describing Facebook adverts that aren’t what they seem.

In this case, a member of the public got in contact with us after they’d placed an order for Gymshark sportswear after seeing an advert on Facebook.

When our scams writer Faye Lipson queried the transaction directly with Gymshark, its response couldn’t have been clearer: it only sells its items through its official website. Any other retailers are fraudulent.

Essential to do your research

This is a timely reminder of why it’s essential to do your research before clicking through on a social media advertisement and heading to an online checkout.

Just because you’ve seen a social media advert for a brand you trust doesn’t mean that it’s a genuine advertisement.

If you’re ever unsure about the authenticity of a retailer, contact the brand directly via its official channels. We also have six tips to spot a social media scam, which includes closely inspecting the URL of the site in question.

Does it look suspicious? Would you expect to see a genuine retailer using a domain name in this way?

If you do think you may have given your details to fraudsters, let your bank know immediately. If you’ve lost money, read our guide to getting your money back after a scam.

Have you seen Facebook ads for Gymshark or other brands you think may be suspicious? Let us know in the comments and help us warn others.

Comments

If there’s one phrase I’d use to describe ads on facebook it would be “A scammer’s paradise”.

Although I’ve not seen ads for Gymshark, I see on a regular basis ads for clothing for branded goods such as Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Marvel and I’d bet large sums of money that they’re not licensed. And almost 100% of these ads use photoshop’d images so you don;t even see what it is you about to buy.

In addition to unlicensed clothing ads I also see numerous illegal streaming services.

Reporting them seems to do little to stop them.

A few tweaks to their ad policy would see a huge reduction in scam ads, but it’ll never happen as it would also be a huge drop in ad revenue.

The best way to combat these scam ads is just to never click on any ad unless you’re 100% certain who the seller is.

As always it’s “caveat emptor” or Buyer Beware.

Hope you’re all managing to stay safe out there.

And I’ve just reported three pages, two called Gymshark Store (created 18th and 19th Sept 2020) and the other Gymshark Shop (created 9th Oct 2020). If I can spot these fake pages I can’r see why Facebook can’t although sadly it’s more likely they just don’t care.

John says:
22 October 2020

I recently created add page from an established company usually means it’s fake. Ask yourself is this offer too good to be true if the answer is yes then it is usually fake . Order nothing from any Facebook add is the wisest course of action.

So when people respond to the fraudulent Gymshark advert on Facebook and pay for a product, what do they get instead? A lookalike counterfeit Gymshark item, or something completely different? What is the scale of the loss on each purchase? And what is the payment mechanism used?

I wonder how many in the Which? community have been stung.

Or even worse, they get nothing but someone else’s purchases showing up on their credit cards.

I have used Facebook for about nine years and have yet to see any advertising other than associated with fundraising. Organisations that I’m a member of use FB to advertise events, raise money and engage with the public. I’m not going to explore what is on sale on Facebook any more than I will be trading in Bitcoins, or gambling.

Thanks to William and others who look for and report dodgy advertising.

tony cave says:
19 October 2020

I seem to have fallen for a scam linked to a free sample of cbd oil for which i just had to pay postage.
A month or so down the line £89 a month started being charged to the bank card that I had used .
I have no address to contact them and did not knowingly sign up to anything .
How can I stop this ?

Hi Tony,
Do you have any other details of the free sample, any name on the sample or company name?

Free samples often are not really free especially if you were asked for payment details. Many of them have to be returned unopened to get out of some sort of never-ending contract they trap you into.

An internet search of cbd oil free sample uk £89 gets a few results:
This one has some good advice:
https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/money/spending/consumer-rights/website-subscription-scam

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/cbdgreenleaves.com
https://www.facebook.com/pg/canzanacbdoilfreetrial/posts/

A search for cbd oil free sample scam
https://dr-ed.co.uk/blogs/cbd-blog/the-free-trial-cbd-oil-scam

Have you contacted your bank? Someone else might be able to give you better advice here but you may be able to ask for a chargeback. The only other option might be to cancel your bank card and get it reissued.

tony cave says:
19 October 2020

Brand name is kanovance.
Both the free sample and a further example 6 weeks later arrived by post in plain wrapping with no documentation or clue as to the sender.
The entry on my bank account gives details as VITA 03303801584 STOCKPORT GB
A google search for VITA stockport produces 3 results all of which are not related businesses.

A search of the number reveals The Vita Group based in Middleton, just 13.2 miles from Stockport. Either they are not the innocent company they appear to be or a scammer is using their details. I favour the latter.

I have had a good look at their website and can’t see any connection to the oil. There is a good chance they will have been approached before so they might be worth an email to see if they can shed any light on why you appear to be paying them money.
https://www.thevitagroup.com/

Another thought, how far back does your internet history go? You might be able to see what websites you visited.

I can’t find anything for Kanovance but did come across this Kanavance CBD review:
https://www.aapainmanage.org/kanavance-cbd-review/

These types of review are often created by sellers of the product to give you the confidence to go ahead with your purchase or free sample. Seems Kanavance CBD has been renamed Nature’s Method. Although there are many endorsements that are probably all fake including one that says SafePurchase Tested & Inspected Guaranteed, there is no information on who you are buying from.

You might find this Shopping Checklist useful to help keep you safe online.

I have reported your comment and asked for someone to give you advice on how to get out of this.

John Halliday says:
22 October 2020

I had exactly the same problem and the only way out of it is to get your bank involved, it appears they are the only ones able to put a stop to any future payments by cancelling your card and issuing you with a new one, they will also reimburse any future payments made by you as they can claim the money back due to your bank having this company’s bank details, so go for it

Best advice here Tony would be to contact your bank or card provider as soon as possible. Tell them what has happened with this charge, and ask them to stop any further payments and see if they can reverse the charges. If you used a Debit Card this would be under the chargeback scheme, or on a Credit Card this would fall under your Section 75 protection. There’s a full guide here: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-get-your-money-back-after-a-scam

I’m very wary of these ads. I have received decent quality products, but I also received a quite expensive backpack style handbag that was nothing like the item in the Facebook picture. It was a completely different colour, which admittedly is always a risk when looking at items.

But not only that, it also had a meaningless name in huge letter is attached to the bag as a big metal badge. It was impossible to remove this without damaging the bag. I gave it to my cleaner, but to be honest I don’t think she used it either.

Andrew Black says:
19 October 2020

I saw an ad. in Facebook last Dec, when responding to a post, for a small amount of thick double sided tape, free for a ltd. amount of time, only postage to pay. I clicked on the ad. and input my C/C details to pay for the postage, which came up as $3.00, so thought the ad. to be from a USA co. I then received an email with expected delivery dates. Weeks passed and no tape, then I was contacted by my C/C co. and asked if I was aware of a transaction on my A/C. I looked at my online transactions and saw a charge for a subscription to a health and fitness plan, which I did not know about, being in my70s and recovering from surgery, it was not something I would consider. It appeared that the people that got my C/C details used it for the subscription I knew nothing about. B/Card gave me a credit for the amount £49.56 and advised they would stop any further charges from the source, so imagine my surprise when I checked my current transactions a couple of weeks ago, there was another £49.56 charge for a health plan, but looked as from a different source. B/Card again gave me a credit and this time advised me to destroy my C/C and they would issue a new card. It would appear, that B/Card were aware of the source of these attempted fraudsters, as they had contacted me, before my Dec. transactions were to be paid. It would also appear that the 2nd attempt was from the same source, using a different name, or my C/C details had been sold on. Thankfully B/Card dealt with the situation and my old C/C nos. are no longer valid, hopefully that will be the end of it. The moral of my story, be very suspicious about and do not give anyone you do not know, your C/C or bank A/C details. I will ignore any adverts on Facebook I may see in future.

Joan Hordon says:
22 October 2020

I responded to an ad on Facebook for roller ball toy for dog. I checked the website on line and it seemed ok. A few days down the line I received an email allocating a tracking no. but this was not recognised. I also rechecked the website but this has vanished. I tracked down the company legitimately trading under that name and they advised me that they hadn’t traded on Facebook for over a year, I cancelled my credit card immediately. I have now received another email with a tracking no. Which obviously I will ignore nor will I respond to any ads on Facebook from now on

Seems to me looking at Facebook ads (AKA sponsored posts), that a large proportion of them are blatant scams. Things like indoor TV aerials that strongly suggest they will give you access to all the paid for content on satellite and cable channels. They can of course do no such thing, all they are selling you is some sort of indoor aerial that will give you all the Freeview channels and nothing else, and not even those if you live in a poor reception area. Also the many “investment schemes” with celebrity endorsements. I’m very wary of any product or service advertised on Facebook.

barry says:
22 October 2020

Do NOT buy anything via a Facebook ad. If it is of interest Google the company and obtain proper contact numbers & website details . If there is NO address on the Website forget it

Yolanda says:
22 October 2020

I bought an item on Facebook innocently – first time I had contemplated using a Facebook site but the garment was the first thing I had seen in ages that I actually liked. I had no idea that the photo was stolen from an authentic site, minus the model’s head (usual tactic apparently) and that the dollar price I was paying was for goods from China which took 6 weeks to arrive and bore zero resemblance to what I had bought. Facebook was not interested and Paypal deemed the item “no signficantly different from purchased item” which is utter rubbish. I think the pandemic could result in more people returning to the high street for their purchases, if they have one. At least you see what you are getting.

ROSEMARY MYERS says:
26 October 2020

Just been conned on a roof seal spray. first time I have bought on Facebook….Paid £12.99 plus £4 postage and it arrived today, a 3 inches high plastic bottle which says JAYSUING Invisible water proofing agent. It probably contains water! The spray can shown was the usual 9″high – this is a real joke. BIOM-33500 biomallik avoid! The tiny parcel came from Germany but originated in China, and came with tracking! The email for this scam is not there – unknown.