Why products sold on Instagram, TikTok may not be what they seem

Dropshippers are the ultimate middlemen. The trendy e-commerce model is what’s behind the ads for products all over Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

While some sellers make millions dropshipping from overseas without ever touching the merchandise, others use it as a get-rich-quick scheme that’s hurting legitimate businesses and unassuming customers.

The model relies on targeted ads designed to stop consumers from scrolling long enough to make an impulse purchase, usually from a Shopify store set up solely for that product.

The dropshipper doesn’t place an order until the customer does, and rarely touches the merchandise. It’s often shipped directly from China to the customer, which can cause delivery times of more than 90 days.

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