WA ScamNet is warning consumers to be careful about which online retailers they use after at least two cases where people ordered barbecue equipment that never arrived.
The recent losses involved scam websites called barbequeworld.com.au and outdoorhomecentre.com.au. They have since been shut down but consumers should be aware that the scam could continue using other website addresses.
The websites claim to sell heavily discounted barbecues and accessories, often with further reductions offered if payment is made by bank transfer. Payment is taken but no goods arrive and email are usually unanswered or bounce back.
Tips to avoid fake websites
- Watch out for sites asking for payment methods such as direct bank transfers or wire transfers.
- Use the internet to search for reviews before buying from a website. This will often reveal consumer blog threads or warnings exposing scam sites.
- Protect yourself by using known reputable sites and paying by a secure system (padlocked) with a credit card or Paypal, so you have an opportunity to seek a chargeback if you don’t get what you paid for.
- Be wary of ‘great deals’ served to you via an internet search or pop-ups. Scammers hope to catch you out when you impulse buy on the promise of a super bargain.
- Be suspicious of unfamiliar sites, particularly those that haven’t been online for long (look for a copyright date on the website, although this can also be fake).
- Consider the risks if there is no physical address, phone contact details or a legitimate ABN listed on the website.
- Be aware that scammers create copycat sites of real online businesses. Pixelated photos and unofficial email addresses can be a sign of this.
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