Don’t Get Fooled – How the Big Lots Scam Sites Rip You Off

Many bargain hunters have recently reported seeing ads on social media for Big Lots products on blowout clearance sale for up to 90% off. However, these are actually scams designed to rip off customers. This comprehensive guide will uncover how this scam works, red flags to spot scam websites, and most importantly, how to avoid getting cheated.

Overview of the Big Lots Clearance Sale Scam

A dangerous scam has emerged involving fake websites that impersonate the official Big Lots store. These fraudulent sites advertise huge clearance sales with up to 90% off all furniture, home goods, seasonal items, and more. Various misleading slogans are used such as:

  • “Going out of business”
  • “Store closing sale”
  • “Everything must go!”
  • “Massive clearance event”

These websites are designed to lure in shoppers with promises of incredibly low prices on overstock Big Lots merchandise. However, customers who place orders at these scam websites wind up either:

  • Receiving nothing at all – This is the most common outcome. Orders and payments simply vanish after being submitted.
  • Getting cheap knockoffs – Low quality imitation products made from inferior materials that in no way match the advertised goods. These items often have flawed or sloppy manufacturing.
  • Receiving used or damaged goods – Some orders arrive with products that are very apparently not brand new. They may be floor models, return items, or from liquidation auctions. These goods often show wear, defects, discoloration, or other signs of use.
  • Getting completely wrong items – Victims sometimes receive products that are totally random and unrelated to what they ordered. This demonstrates the scam sites have no real order fulfillment occurring.

On top of never receiving the actual products ordered, victims also have their personal and financial data stolen during checkout on these phony websites. Full names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card details are all collected by the scammers.

According to extensive research, these fraudulent shopping websites are part of an interconnected network of thousands of scam sites being run out of China. This massive criminal network manages an array of fake retail stores with the sole purpose of stealing victims’ money and information.

By recognizing these deceptive sales as outright scams, consumers can avoid being manipulated into handing over their credit card details and personal data. Below we will analyze exactly how the scam works from start to finish, and most importantly, how to prevent falling victim.

How the Big Lots Clearance Sale Scam Works

This scam employs an organized methodology to mislead and take advantage of customers at every step:

Step 1: Building Elaborate Fake Sites

Sophisticated sham websites are constructed to pass as the real Big Lots store:

  • The logo, images, branding and product photos are stolen from the legitimate site.
  • Similar domain names are created using misspellings or extra words.
  • Fake promotions like “Up to 90% off everything!” are posted.
  • The Terms of Service and Privacy Policy are copied from other scam sites.
  • A bogus phone number and address are listed. Customer service options are removed.

Step 2: Promoting the Fake Sales

The scam stores are heavily marketed through paid ads and social media posts:

  • Facebook ads use enticing images of deeply discounted Big Lots furniture and home decor. Headlines urge users to click through to the fraudulent site.
  • Targeted posts in bargain hunting groups expose the sham deals to potential victims.
  • Individual accounts are paid to promote the fake sales on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter using affiliate links.
  • Search and shopping ads optimized for terms like “Big Lots liquidation” also direct traffic to the impersonator sites.

Step 3: Swindling Shoppers into Buying

Highly manipulative tactics are used to convert visitors into making purchases:

  • Prices like “All sofas 80% off!” create perceived exclusivity and urgency. In reality, the scammers will never fulfill these prices.
  • Countdown timers, limited quantity alerts and other psychological ploys pressure hasty impulse buys.
  • At checkout, users’ credit card and personal information is quietly collected and likely sold.
  • Fake security seals are displayed to feign legitimacy, when in fact no real protections exist.

Step 4: Taking Money Without Fulfilling Orders

Once victims place orders, a few things may happen:

  • Most often, no shipment goes out and the order disappears. This maximizes the scammers’ profits.
  • In some cases, cheap imitation products are sent out to satisfy credit card chargeback requirements. But these knockoffs in no way match what was ordered.
  • Rarely, an entirely random product is shipped instead of the order. This makes it appear something was fulfilled, however deceitfully.
  • Either way, the scammers have still stolen users’ payment and personal data for identity theft purposes.

Step 5: Repeating the Scam Endlessly

Since the fake sites are disposable to the scammers, common tactics include:

  • Quickly shutting down the site after enough payments come through, before customers can pursue refunds.
  • Ditching merchant accounts once excessive chargebacks accrue, while keeping the scam site active.
  • Reappearing under new domain names once blacklisted, to rerun the same con.
  • Never providing any real customer service, only collecting more payments.

This demonstrates how the scam’s entire business model is structured around deceit, theft, and exploiting victims. Next, we will uncover how to detect their fraudulent sites.

8 Warning Signs of a Fake Big Lots Website

While the impersonator sites try hard to mimic the real Big Lots shopping experience, some key red flags can reveal their deception:

1. Lookalike Domain Names

Shady domains will try to imitate the real site using tricks like:

  • Misspellings (
  • Slight variations (
  • Subdomains (
  • Different domain extensions (.net instead of .com)

None of these lead to the legitimate website.

2. Unbelievable Discounts and Prices

Seeing entire collections for 90% off or $500 patio sets for $20 is an obvious indicator of a scam. Real brands can’t offer such outlandish prices.

3. High Pressure Sales Tactics

Phrases like “selling out fast!” and countdown timers are intended to provoke hasty impulse purchases. Legitimate retailers don’t use these forced scarcity tricks.

4. Lack of Contact Information

There should be phone numbers, a real business address, live chat, and contact email. Scam sites will at most have an email.

5. Whois Data is Hidden

A Whois domain lookup reveals who registered the site. Scammers use proxy services to hide their identity with “private registration”.

6. Generic Privacy Policies and Terms

These legal pages are copied from other scam sites instead of being custom drafted. They may be completely irrelevant to a discount retailer.

7. No Social Media Presence

The real brand has active Instagram, Facebook, Twitter accounts and profiles. Fraud sites only exist as the fake store.

8. Grammatical and Spelling Errors

Sloppy writing indicates non-native English speaking scammers rather than a legitimate American business.

Multiple red flags indicate an extremely high chance the website is totally fraudulent. Exercise extreme caution if these warning signs are present. Next, we will cover what steps to take if you already fell victim to one of these clearance sale scams.

Here is a detailed SEO optimized section on how to spot fake Big Lots clearance sales being promoted on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok:

How to Spot Fake Big Lots Sales on Facebook

  • Facebook ad promotes “blowout sale!” or “massive clearance event” with 70%+ discounts.
  • Video shows expensive furniture on sale for improbably cheap prices.
  • Ad account name seems vague, not the official “Big Lots” page.
  • Clicking ad leads to a sketchy URL, not
  • Ad was only recently posted by a page created this month.
  • Comment section may be disabled to hide negative feedback.
  • Text uses false scarcity tactics like “Almost gone!”.

How to Catch Big Lots Scams on Instagram

  • Link in bio goes to suspicious domain instead of real website.
  • Photo shows high-value products on sale for 90%+ off retail prices.
  • Caption uses urgency words like “Selling fast!” to pressure buyers.
  • Account was created recently this month and has few posts.
  • No verification badge on account, unlike real Big Lots Instagram.
  • Commenting may be disabled to prevent negative exposure.
  • No customer service info provided.

How to Identify Big Lots Scams on TikTok

  • Video advertises site-wide discounts like “Up to 80% off everything!”.
  • Caption tells viewers to click shady link in bio to shop sale.
  • Link goes to sketchy domain instead of official site.
  • Fake scarcity tactics used like countdown timer.
  • Account was recently created this month and has zero other posts.
  • No verification badge on account unlike real Big Lots TikTok.
  • Comments may be turned off to hide feedback.

Apply extra scrutiny before engaging with unbelievable Big Lots social media sales. Check for multiple red flags indicating a potential scam.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of the Big Lots Scam

If you ordered from one of these fraudulent websites impersonating Big Lots and never received your items, immediately take these actions:

Step 1: Contact Your Credit Card Company

Call your credit card provider to report the charges as fraudulent. Request an immediate chargeback to reverse the charges and get your money returned. Provide any emails or order documentation. Act quickly as chargeback rights expire.

Step 2: Monitor Your Accounts Closely

Carefully review credit card and bank account statements for any additional suspicious charges by the scammers. Also watch for new accounts opened fraudulently in your name. Enroll in credit monitoring to detect identity theft.

Step 3: Reset Online Account Passwords

If you used the same or similar password on the scam site, change it everywhere else immediately. Update passwords on shopping, social media and financial accounts. Use unique complex passwords for each account.

Step 4: Place Fraud Alerts on Your Credit

Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to place fraud alerts on your credit reports. Doing this makes it harder for scammers to open new fraudulent accounts in your name. Renew the alerts every 90 days.

Step 5: Report the Fake Website

To protect other potential victims, report the scam website to the FTC at File complaints with the state attorney general and FBI IC3. Reporting the site to cybersafety groups can also help get the fraudulent domain blacklisted.

Step 6: Leave Online Reviews Warning Others

Post detailed reviews about being scammed on consumer sites like Trustpilot and SiteJabber. Use a clear title like “Big Lots clearance sale scam”. This helps prevent the criminal site from victimizing others.

By taking swift action, you can contain the damage and prevent further identity theft or financial fraud. You should also explore legal options depending on the losses suffered.

How to Avoid Big Lots Clearance Sale Scams

Here are crucial tips to avoid falling victim to these fraudulent home goods shopping websites:

1. Only Purchase Directly From

Go directly to for any purchases. Never click questionable links, popups or ads claiming to offer deals. Manually type in the URL every time to ensure you access the real site.

2. Research Before Buying From Unfamiliar Sites

Do a quick Google search for reviews of any website you haven’t shopped at before providing payment or personal information. Look for scam reports and complaints.

3. Beware Unbelievable Discounts

If a deal seems too good to be true, like 90% off all furniture, dismiss it as a scam. Real sales will never offer such outlandish prices.

4. Verify Contact Information and Customer Service

There should be a real phone number, physical address and multiple contact options – lack of this indicates a shady business.

5. Use Credit Cards For Purchases

Always pay by credit card when shopping on new sites. Credit cards have much stronger fraud and chargeback protections. Avoid using gift cards, CashApp, Zelle, cryptocurrency or direct bank transfers.

Following these tips will help you avoid falling into clearance sale scams impersonating trusted brands like Big Lots.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Big Lots Clearance Sale Scam

Shoppers need to stay vigilant against clearance sale scams impersonating trusted brands like Big Lots. Here are answers to the most common questions about these fraudulent sites.

What exactly is the Big Lots clearance sale scam?

This scam involves fake ecommerce websites that impersonate the real Big Lots website. They promote massive clearance sales with up to 90% off to lure customers into ordering. However, victims either get nothing, cheap knockoffs, or used items, while their personal and payment data is stolen.

How can I spot a fake Big Lots website?

Watch for these red flags:

  • Spoofed URLs trying to mimic the real Big Lots site.
  • Extreme discounts like 90% off all furniture site-wide.
  • High pressure sales tactics and countdown timers.
  • Lack of contact information beyond an email address.
  • Grammar, spelling, or typos.

If multiple suspicious indicators are present, the site cannot be trusted.

What happens if I order from one of these scam websites?

Most likely your order will never arrive after payment is taken. Or you may receive:

  • Cheap counterfeit products, not the real items ordered.
  • Used, damaged or tampered merchandise.
  • A random product that differs completely from your order.

Either way, your personal and financial data has been compromised.

What should I do if I fall for one of these scams?

Immediately contact your credit card issuer to dispute the charges and get reimbursement. Monitor your statements closely for further fraudulent charges. Place fraud alerts on your credit reports and change account passwords compromised by the scam site. Report the scam to help warn others.

How can I avoid Big Lots clearance sale scams?

Only order directly from Research unfamiliar sites before buying. Beware unbelievable discounts that seem too good to be true. Never submit payment info or data to questionable sites. Use credit cards for added protection.

Does Big Lots offer real clearance sales?

Yes, genuine sales and promotions do occur on the official Big Lots website and in their retail stores. But real Big Lots deals will never claim unrealistic discounts of 70-90% off site-wide or be advertised on scammy websites.

Is it safe to order from the real Big Lots website?

Absolutely. is completely legitimate and secure. The brand has been in business since 1967. Only fraudulent sites pretending to be Big Lots pose any risk. Ensure you only order directly from the real Big Lots site.

Apply smart online shopping practices to avoid being manipulated by fake discounts and deals. Only use reputable retailers that can be fully verified. Don’t let scammers steal your money or compromise your identity.

The Bottom Line

In summary, sophisticated scam websites impersonating Big Lots in fake clearance sales prey on deal-seeking shoppers. By mimicking legitimate brands and using social engineering, they convince victims to willingly hand over money and sensitive data.

Outsmarting these online shopping pitfalls requires always thinking critically. Analyze site credibility signals carefully before providing payment or order information. Only make purchases through fully verified retailers. If scammed, promptly take action to dispute charges and prevent identity theft.

Stay alert to warning signs and trust your instincts when offers seem too good to be true. By following savvy online shopping practices, you can avoid clearance sale scams and truly get the lowest prices from brands you know and love. Don’t let tempting deals undermine your better judgment.

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

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    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.


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    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

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    Ad Blocker

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    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

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To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

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