Online shoppers duped by bogus websites
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Consumer Protection has issued an alert about seven bogus shopping websites, now closed, which had stolen the identity of legitimate businesses and conned money out of WA consumers.
An investigation was launched by Consumer Protection through WA ScamNet when seven consumers complained that they had not received electronic goods they had ordered online, leaving them more than $7,000 out of pocket. The consumers had purchased iPads, iPhones and a camera at well below market prices and the websites only accepted payment by bank to bank transfer.
The seven websites were set up using the names of legitimate businesses which are either still operating or recently closed down. When contacted by WA ScamNet, the business owners confirmed that their trading names had been “stolen” and they had not registered the domain names being used in the scam.
The sites now closed are:
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll has called on consumers who have purchased goods from these websites to come forward.
“We believe there may be other consumers who have ordered products from the websites and are still waiting for their goods to arrive. Those consumers should contact Consumer Protection immediately so they can assist with our ongoing investigation into this matter,” Ms Driscoll said.
“All the websites were identical in layout and style. The terms and conditions and frequently asked questions were also the same, indicating that they may have been produced by the same person or group.
“Consumers should be wary if an online retailer offers goods well below market prices and doesn’t accept payment by credit card or Paypal. Be especially concerned if the site asks for payment by bank or wire transfer only.”
Consumer Protection advises online shoppers to:
- Only purchase from well-established reputable online retailers;
- Be wary of online retailers who accept bank transfers as their only method of payment;
- Use secure online payment systems. Look for a padlock and https:/ in the web address when entering financial information to make sure your details are secure;
- Be wary of websites selling goods well below market prices;
- Do an internet search of the website and business to get comments and reviews from other consumers who have used the same site.
Further information and advice on scams can be found on the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au. Enquiries or scam reports can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
Addendum, 23 October: An 8th bogus shopping website has been identified by Consumer Protection: www.futuregaming.com.au – consumers are advised not to make any purchases on this site until it is closed down. Consumers who have already made purchases on this site should contact Consumer Protection.
END OF RELEASE
(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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Alan Hynd 9282 0961 or 0429-078791 email@example.com
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