Western Australians in search of the bargain of the century could be scammed by fake websites that cleverly copy legitimate enterprises. Consumers need to be wary of ‘great deals’ offered via internet searches or pop-ups as scammers hope to catch victims out when impulse buying on the promise of a super bargain. Buyers also need to be wary of sites asking for payment methods such as direct bank transfer or wire transfer only. A secure method of payment is credit card or Paypal, where you can request a chargeback or dispute the transaction if necessary.
If you absolutely must have the item that has popped up on your screen, visit the legitimate website selling that product and buy it from there – do not access the site via the pop-up. You may see a price differential or availability which may indicate whether or not the pop-up was a fake. You can also search for the business on Facebook and look for the tick verification badge that shows the business definitely belongs to that page.
2019 case study
- Consumer Protection has been made aware of a victim of a fake technology website that appeared to be legitimate.
- The victim purchased an Apple iPhone 8 Plus from Beta Go Accessory online and paid $599 via bank transfer into the nominated online account.
- The victim received a confirmation email saying that the order had been placed.
- He has not received his goods nor has he had any further contact with the seller.
- The website has now closed down.
Reminder – tips to avoid shopping on fake websites
Always be wary about:
- Great ‘deals’ served to you originating from an internet search or pop-ups – scammers want to catch bargain hunters!
- Unfamiliar or new websites – look for a copyright year on the homepage, although this date can also be faked. Most fake websites are less than six months old.
- Websites that do not list a physical address, telephone number or ABN, or if these details cannot be verified.
- Payment methods such as direct bank transfer or wire transfer only.
- Pixelated photos, spelling errors and other clues that you may be looking at a copycat site of a real online business.
Be safe and do the following:
- Use reputable sites and pay securely (look for the padlock symbol) with credit card or Paypal, where you may seek a chargeback if goods are not delivered.
- Search for reviews or warnings about the website from other shoppers or agencies such as Consumer Protection WA.
- Use Australian-based websites where possible, as it is hard to enforce Australian Consumer Law if an online business is based overseas.
If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam, call WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54.
Puppy scams: Cute pics but no puppiesRead More...
Beware of fake websites and social media accounts that claimed to puppies, leaving buyers out of pocket and without a dog.
Fake farming machinery websitesRead More...
WA ScamNet has received reports about two websites claiming to sell discounted second-hand farming machinery with products paid for but not delivered.
Fake mobile phone online storesRead More...
WA ScamNet is warning consumers about fake online stores on Facebook featuring the latest mobile phones for sale at heavily discounted prices.
Beware fake Shopify sitesRead More...
Online shoppers need to be wary of fraudulent store pages operating on Shopify that advertise non-existent goods and falsely promise to donate proceeds to bushfire relief charities and animal rescue groups.
Fake online footwear site shut down by WA ScamNetRead More...
Fake caravan websitesRead More...
Warning from WA ScamNet about a fake website selling cheap second-hand caravans.
Royal Online Bullies and Australian Breeder puppy scamRead More...
Consumers are warned not to engage with Royal Bufllies Online a fake puppy website.
Caredez Farm puppy scamRead More...
Beware of fake French Bulldog website Caredez Farm
Greenland Guard Dogs ScamRead More...
WA ScamNet has shut down a fake website and social media account that claimed to sell German Shepherd and Rottweiler puppies, but left buyers out of pocket and without a dog.
French Bull Rehoming ScamRead More...
6 December 2019
Fraudulent ‘French Bull Rehoming’ website which claims to re-home French and British bulldog puppies.
Buyer beware fake websitesRead More...
How do you spot a fake website? The reality is they can look really professional and may have copied official logos, high quality images and even stolen an ABN from a real business. One sign of a fake site can be a recent copyright date but scammers may also put an older copyright date to fool you.
vipsupportmail linked to several scam sitesRead More...
Online shoppers should be on the lookout for the email address email@example.com, which has been linked to several scam websites.
Fake Outboard Motor WebsitesRead More...
WA ScamNet has received reports about a number of fake websites selling cheap outboard motors.
Fake holiday accommodation websitesRead More...
WA ScamNet have received five separate reports from consumers who lost money after receiving a call from a company offering cheap holiday accommodation.
Fake power tools websitesRead More...
Two fake websites selling power tools were recently reported to WA ScamNet. The websites claim to sell discounted power tools with items ordered but not delivered.
Fake aquariums and accessories websiteRead More...
WA ScamNet has received a report about a fake wesite, aquarium center, claiming to sell heavily discounted aquariums and accessories with further reductions offered for payment by bank transfer. Goods were ordered but not received.
Fake barbecue product websitesRead More...
Consumers need to be careful about which online retailers they use after at least two cases where people ordered barbecue equipment that never arrived.
Bogus boating websiteRead More...
We have had reports about the website www.marinebazaar.com.au, which is bogus even though it appears legitimate at first glance.
Bogus Appliances Deals websiteRead More...
We have had reports from customers about the website appliancesdeals.com.au, which is bogus, even though it appears legitimate.
Great BackyardRead More...
Don't dig yourself into a hole with this fake garden supplier.
Husky and Pomsky puppy scamRead More...
This puppy scam hits victims twice! It advertises for husky or pomsky puppies but then also hits up the buyers for additional fees for insurances, vaccines and shipping.
Fake massage chair and scooter websitesRead More...
WA ScamNet has received a number of reports from consumers who have tried to purchase massage chairs, mobility scooters and children’s scooters from various websites, and never received the products.
Fake bulldog puppy websiteRead More...
Pet-buyers are being warned about online puppy scams - French and English bulldogs puppies being the latest.
Facebook puppy scamsRead More...
Pet-buyers are being warned about Facebook page scams - Labradoodle Puppies For Sale being the latest.
Fake Outdoor EquipmentRead More...
Do NOT buy anything online from GardenOutdoorSales.com.au, the website is a front to steal money.
Cavoodle puppy scamRead More...
Consumers have paid for a puppy either via a website or by responding to an online classifieds advertisement only to find out the whole thing’s a fraud.
Stolen Credit CardRead More...
Scammers are targeting retailers using stolen credit cards.
Fridge deal leaves consumers out in the cold - warning about bogus shopping site overstockdeals.com.au
Onsalemarketdeals and directonlinedeals websitesRead More...
Do not place orders with the website directonlinedeals.com.au or onsalemarketdeals.com as WA ScamNet investigates if the website is fraudulent.
Puppy scammers biteRead More...
WA ScamNet has received three reports of monetary loss to puppy sale scams recently. One victim via email, one via facebook, and another via gumtree.
Online free trial offersRead More...
Whether it’s a sponsored post in your social media feed or a pop up advertisement while you’re browsing the web, offers of ‘free trials’ or ‘samples’ are a common sight for internet users. WA ScamNet warns online consumers to be aware of the fine print when accepting a so called free trial.
Fake shopping websitesRead More...
Consumer Protection has issued an alert about eight bogus shopping websites, now closed, which had stolen the identity of legitimate businesses and conned money out of WA consumers.
Kitten and puppy scamsRead More...
Don’t let kitten scammers get their claws into your money. It’s a new version of the age-old puppy scam. Scammers advertise a puppy or kitten for sale in the classifieds either in newspapers or online, usually providing an email address as a contact point. The animal being advertised is often a popular breed and the asking price is lower than the market value. The seller requests that payment for a crate and shipping of the kitten or puppy be sent by wire transfer. Sadly the animal never arrives and Consumer Protection has received reports of monetary loss from many heartbroken would-be pet owners.
Online auction and shopping scamsRead More...
It is possible to buy almost anything over the internet these days. Unfortunately, scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers. Scammers can pretend to be selling a product—often very cheaply—just so they can steal your credit card or bank account details. Similarly, they may take your money but send you a faulty or worthless product instead—or even nothing at all.
eBay invoice scamRead More...
An eBay invoice arrives in your inbox for a brand new Guess handbag or other personal product that you never ordered. Confused? You need not be because this is a fake email.