WA ScamNet has received reports about two websites claiming to sell discounted second-hand farming machinery with products paid for but not delivered.
Consumers have reported losing over $25,000 to the dodgy sites:
Both websites offer machinery at discounted prices, offering payment via bank transfer only. This should ring alarm bells as safer payment options of credit card and PayPal were not offered.
The websites have listed addresses which are either for other legitimate businesses selling similar goods or empty pieces of land.
Anyone who has ordered goods from these websites is advised to report the transaction to their bank as fraudulent.
Tips to avoid fake websites:
Consumers are advised not to buy anything from a website with tell-tale signs of a scam, including:
- Prices are too good to be true.
- Website registration details are hidden.
- No contact details, such as a legitimate physical address, phone number or ABN.
- 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 sites you haven’t heard of before.
- Consider the risks if there is no physical address, phone contact details or ABN.
- Watch out for sites asking for insecure payment methods (direct bank transfer or wire transfer).
- 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.
- Use the internet to search for reviews before buying from a website as this will often reveal consumer blog threads exposing scam sites (or a Consumer Protection warning).
- Be aware scammers create copycat sites of real online businesses. Pixelated photos can be a sign of this.