Facebook serves up millions of ads a day. While the company says it doing whatever it can to stifle scams, sometimes nefarious companies get through the checkpoints. One case in point is something we’ve been seeing A LOT of lately. Beware, it’s not real. At best, you’ll get a cheap knockoff of the real thing, and worst, you’ll be out your 50 bucks.
Cheap Windmill Knock Offs
The ads are all pretty much the same. They feature a mesmerizing video of a really cool looking windmill sculpture and usually have a blurb claiming the company is going out of business and you only have a limited time to get a great deal on its remaining inventory:
Hey dear, we are sad to announce that we are closing… ? This recession has hit our business hard, and unfortunately we have no choice but to close down our shop.? ?It’s a sad day for us here at Rise & Conquer, but we are going out with an incredible sale. We are selling off our remaining supply of Metal Windmill at 78%OFF. If you want to get something from our store before we close ?Get Yours
The company is always different, the account posting is always different, yet the blurb is almost always same – or just slightly different. These things alone should be enough of a red flag to keep scrolling. Click on the comments of almost any of these ads and you’ll see we’re not alone in our ability to spot this obvious scam. Posters from all over the globe are chiming, calling the ad deceitful and sketchy.
Just in an hour or so of scrolling our Facebook feeds, we found 11 different version of this same bogus ad. They have account names like “FullHouse,” Windmill Shop”, “Emily Chidster Photography,” and “Natuma.” Often the scammers are so lazy, they don’t even change the name of the company in the blurb to the name on the account.
The Worst Part? Some One Does Own This Design
There is no question the video and the design of the windmill is very cool. Who wouldn’t want something like this in their garden? According to some commenters, if they actually receive a product at all, it’s a cheap-looking, tiny version of the sculpture shown in the video.
The real sculpture is a work by artist Anthony Howe called ”Zavion.” His website has photos of it and a number of his other stunning metal works, and at the top of his page, he’s recently added the following disclaimer:
Howe has taken to Facebook to address the situation as well, posting a similar message.
As Anthony Howe points out, it appears the knocks are being sold on Amazon, as well as being advertised elsewhere.
While it seems the ad has been reported often by Facebook users that recognize the scam, Facebook seems to have struggled to get the ads off its platform and the phony ads continue to get served up, likely by the millions.
Don’t Get Scammed
In general, it’s a good idea to always do an independent search for a product in an ad on social media from a company you don’t recognize. There are thousands of legitimate small businesses out there selling their wares, and a quick Google search will almost certainly highlight the real from the fake.
It’s also a good idea to always use a credit card for web purchases, if you can. That way, you have the consumer protection from the credit card company. If you PayPal it, it’s like wire the money via Western Union, it’s as good as gone and you stand little chance of getting it back if you’ve been scammed.