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Dangers of Online Scams

Social shopping has become the preferred way for Gen Z and Millennials to discover and purchase new products in the digital age. This shift towards online marketplaces and social media platforms, like Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, and TikTok, has made shopping more convenient and engaging than ever. However, this convenience comes with its own set of risks. As more people turn to short-form videos and in-app shopping experiences, these platforms have become prime targets for scammers looking to exploit unsuspecting buyers.

The Lure of Social Shopping

Social shopping lets users discover products through engaging content and direct purchases from their favorite apps. Instagram and TikTok are particularly popular for their seamless in-app shopping experiences, where users can buy products directly from posts and videos. Facebook Marketplace also offers a convenient platform for off-app purchasing, where buyers can find various products. However, the features that make these platforms attractive also make them vulnerable to fraudulent activities.

Spotting the Scams

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods, making distinguishing legitimate sellers from fraudulent ones challenging. When buying plants online, there are specific indicators you should look for to ensure you’re not being scammed. Legitimate plant sellers should always list the genus, species, and cultivar of the plant they sell. This scientific vocabulary is crucial for verifying the authenticity of the product. If these details are missing from the advertisement or an internet search does not return specific information about the plant, it should raise immediate red flags.

The Risks of Online Plant Purchases

Purchasing plants online can be particularly tricky. You need to see the plant in person to know the condition or if it even exists. Scammers can easily use photos of healthy plants to lure buyers, only to send subpar or non-existent products. This can lead to wasted money and disappointment, especially for plant enthusiasts looking for specific varieties.

A Safer Alternative

Consider visiting a reputable local nursery to eliminate the risk of getting scammed. For example, at Mitchell’s Nursery, you can see the plants in stock and verify their health and authenticity. This hands-on approach ensures you get what you pay for and supports local businesses.

Thousands of spectacular new varieties of plants are developed by growers throughout the United States each year. Visiting a trusted nursery allows you to explore these new varieties in person and make informed decisions about your purchases.


While social shopping offers convenience and excitement, it’s essential to be vigilant about the potential for scams. Always verify the details of the products you’re interested in and consider purchasing from reputable local sources to ensure you get what you pay for. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of modern shopping while protecting yourself from fraud.

Stay safe and happy shopping!