Fake closing-down sales back just one day after being banned by Facebook

A website that was booted off Facebook for breaking fraud and deception rules was able to set up a new page just a day later, and target the same customers as before it was taken down.

At least two customers were targeted with ads on their Facebook feeds by Coat London after its original page had been deleted by the social media giant.

On Tuesday, Coat London’s page was taken down after the PA News Agency alerted Facebook to the problem.

Coat London, and a similar site called Age Of Rock, had been advertising closing-down sales on the platform despite their websites only being set up two months ago, PA revealed this week.

Facebook acted swiftly after PA highlighted the problem on Tuesday, removing both the sites and their adverts.

“Fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our platforms and we have removed both pages for violation of our fraud and deception policies,” a spokesman said at the time.

However, on Wednesday, a new page, “Coat London Store”, had been set up on Facebook.

Which? consumer rights expert Adam French told PA: “Social media sites are being used by unscrupulous sellers and fraudsters and their reactive approach to shutting them down doesn’t seem to solve the problem, as dubious pages can reappear just hours after being taken down.”

“Tech companies must work harder to stop dodgy third parties abusing their platforms and ensure their millions of users are protected from scams that could see them conned out of substantial sums.”

At least two social media users, including one PA reporter, who had viewed the original Coat London page, were targeted by adverts from the new Facebook page.

“We are sad to announce that we are discontinuing our latest collections,” the new advert read.

“Until remaining stocks last, we would like to give everyone ONE LAST CHANCE to shop our latest collections up to 70% OFF!”

Customers had complained that the products they were sent were of poor quality.

On Tuesday, Facebook said: “We continue to invest in people and technology to identify and remove this content, and we urge people to report any suspicious content to us.

Mr French added: “We’d advise consumers to always be cautious when shopping with unfamiliar online retailers, especially as fraudsters seek to exploit uncertainty around the coronavirus crisis.

“Make sure you do your research to ensure it is a reputable, trustworthy brand – and steer clear if there is any doubt.”

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