Is Temu legit: What to know before you shop
A smartwatch for $13, a necklace for $1.47, even a knockoff Stanley mug for $12.
You can shop like a billionaire on Temu, just like its Super Bowl commercial said. You can pretty much get anything really cheap.
From YouTubers to celebrities – a lot of people are using it.
T.J. Sayers, with the Center for Internet Security, said Temu’s app has been downloaded well over 100 million times.
“It’s a pretty significant competitor to Amazon and Walmart, other apps like that, that are U.S.-based companies. It’s a Chinese-based company.”
However, getting a great deal comes at a price. The Better Business Bureau, BBB, is warning about all kinds of issues with the website; from complaints about product quality, shipping delays, and items bought but never received.
BBB reports over 1,000 customer complaints about Temu, and it’s on BBB’s alert radar.
One of the biggest issues is privacy concerns.
Your personal information will likely become Temu’s as well.
“All the information that users put into these applications are used to target that user. Usually for money-making purposes,” Sayers said.
It also automatically collects information about you from your phone or computer. Including your general location data and browsing history.
“It could also be used from a strategic influence perspective. To make you buy a certain thing or make you believe a certain narrative or something like that. It’s something we’ve seen huge on TikTok on another Chinese-based app.”
A ton of online retailers take your information, Sayers said, not just Temu.
13Investigates reached out to Temum but never got a response. However, the BBB tells 13Investigates Temu is working with them to respond to concerns raised by consumers.
Using a Chinese-based website comes with two warnings: scammers and malware, according to Sayers.
“Temu’s parent company PDD Holdings, is also the owner of another application that’s Chinese-based. It’s very similar to Temu. That one in particular has been removed from the Google Play and Apple App Store because it was tied to malware. There was malicious code in that application, and it was previously removed,” Sayers said. “The same people who are working on that application are also part of the team, in some respects, that has worked on that application…we have a Chinese-based version, and then an American-based version. The Chinese-based versions have already been kicked out of the app marketplace because of malware. Now we have an American version popping up from the same company.”
For U.S. consumers, is Temu safe to use? The short answer is yes.
“I would take the kind of advisory perspective of it’s probably not immediately dangerous to use the application. But there are a lot of things that are being collected about the user and anyone engaged on that application that they may not realize could be used down the road to target them, extort them, maybe use that person to get to another person,” Sayers said.