A shift toward online shopping during COVID-19, global supply chain crisis, and a resurging economy have all created a recipe for a breakneck holiday shopping season.

This is a year where online shopping fraud poses a tremendous risk to consumers. A new Better Business Bureau study finds online purchase scams have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and social media ads play a key role in the mushrooming problem.

The in-depth investigative study finds the pandemic, along with lax social commerce shopping platforms, has opened the door for scammers in China to steal from desperate online shoppers.

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Online shopping fraud has been growing for several years, BBB Scam Tracker reports about online shopping scams nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020, and the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust named online shopping scams as the riskiest scam of 2020.

Also, online shopping has more BBB “F”-rated companies than any other type of business. Most online fraud reports examined involve a response to online ads on Facebook and Instagram.

After placing an order, victims report receiving nothing or receiving items that were counterfeit or inferior from what the ads promised. Scammers often take product photos or a landing page from legitimate businesses, post them on Facebook and Instagram and take online orders at websites they create.

This leads to complaints against legitimate companies, as victims often do not…

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