Ad for cut price mobile phones a scam
Consumers and businesses in WA are being warned not to respond to an advertisement which offers ‘unbeatable deals’ on mobile phones and other devices.
The advertisement which appeared in My Business magazine is offering Apple and Samsung mobile phones at almost half of their normal cost. It does not show the name of a retailer or any other contact details except for an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ad also offers a free phone if three phones are purchased and claims to have the best prices for Apple iPads, Apple watches, Samsung Galaxy tablets and Nikon and Canon cameras, although prices are not listed.
Consumer Protection and the Small Business Development Corporation have labelled the advertisement a scam.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the ad could appear in other publications as well as online.
“People should be wary of these types of ads which offer prices for goods that are beyond belief,” Mr Hillyard said.
“A clear warning sign in this ad is the lack of any branding and having an email address as the only method of contact. However, other scams of this type have used fake or stolen business names and Australian phone numbers which are normally diverted overseas.
“The best advice is to have a clear idea of exactly who you are dealing with before responding to an ad and definitely don’t hand over any money until you are sure it is an authentic company offering credible and genuine discounts.”
Western Australian Small Business Commissioner David Eaton says full page advertisements like this can be very tempting, and appearing in print wrongly gives them an air of legitimacy.
“Scammers are becoming more brazen every day but people need to be on the alert for offers that seem too good to be true,” Mr Eaton said.
“These types of scam advertisements often attract busy small business owners who are looking for a bargain but are not able to take the time to fully investigate the veracity of the offer. Recovering lost funds from these types of scams is often impossible.”
Last year Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet warned about a similar scam using the name Pacific Mobile Phones.
WA ScamNet advises consumers and businesses to:
- only purchase from well-established reputable 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; and
- do an internet search of the website/business name/email address to get comments and reviews from other consumers who have used the same site.
For more information and advice, consumers can contact WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or by email: email@example.com. Businesses can contact the Small Business Development Corporation on 133 140 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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