Using images stolen from across the web, sketchy retailers are selling ultra-discounted clothes to women on Facebook. A BuzzFeed News investigation shows many are linked to one of China’s richest men.
If you’re a woman on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this kind of ad before: a gorgeous dress or a flattering top, from a website you’ve never heard of, for just $11.99, or some other too-good-to-be-true price. It has a Facebook page with perhaps millions of likes, zero to few complaints, and professional-grade graphics featuring models or celebrities like Katy Perry. The page posts links to its website every few hours, accompanied by pictures of women in stylish outfits.
But you’re unlikely to end up with anything close to what the pictures promise. They’re merely an entry point for thousands of women who have lost money to an opaque group of Chinese clothing companies in recent years, operating under a trove of names like Zaful, SammyDress, DressLily, RoseGal, RoseWe, TideBuy, Choies, and RomWe.