Lakeview tattoo shop customers scammed after booking appointment on Facebook, owner says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local business owner said dozens of his customers are getting ripped off by imposters using social media to pose at legitimate businesses.

The owner of a Lakeview tattoo shop said dozens of customers are walking into his store saying they put down a deposit to get a tattoo. However, the problem is, he said those customers gave the deposit to a fraudster who has nothing to do with this store.

"When people find this guy on Facebook, he purports to be a tattoo artist," said Ben Wah, owner of Delux Tattoo. "In order to make an appointment, he has them leave a deposit."

Wah said he's been forced to turn away several customers a week who said they handed over $30-$50 to a fraudster posing as his business on Facebook.

"He'll give them a ridiculously low price. They're like, 'great, let's do it.' They send the deposit. 'Great, you've got an appointment. I'll see you tomorrow at three,'" Wah describes. Then they show up here, and they find out he doesn't work here and he has blocked them and they cannot get ahold of them."

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If this happens to you call, the police. They may be able to track down the scammer using technology which can trace people who have received money through online payment apps.

You can also report it to the social media platform the scammer is using.

"I've reported it," Wah said. "People that work here reported it, customers reported it. And there's been no action by Facebook to take down his profile. It's still up there as of today, and we've had clients as recently as two, three days ago, [and] they're still getting scammed.

On Tuesday, the I-Team forwarded Wah's report and the screenshot of the fraudster's profile to Facebook. A spokesperson thanked us for "elevating" this issue to their attention and said, "Facebook reviewed the profile and removed it for violating its Community Standards."

Facebook added that it actively removes content that, "purposefully deceives, willfully misrepresents or otherwise defrauds or exploits others for money or property."

Wah believes there are other bad actors running similar scams using other local tattoo shops.

"The main focus of my effort is to try to get the word out on this. It's really sad to see these people get ripped off and get, you know, scammed," Wah said.

If you're looking to book an appointment at a tattoo shop on social media, you should make sure you are verifying who you are talking to before you send any money.

You can also call the business directly and see if you can make the appointment or give a deposit to a trusted person over the phone.
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