Online shoppers should be on the lookout for the email address email@example.com, which has been linked to several scam websites that claim to sell discounted furniture, electrical appliances and other products.
In a recent report to WA Scamnet, a consumer lost more than $170 after paying for a cot advertised at a website – www.bbcots.co, which is currently inactive – without receiving any goods.
This website’s contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org, has also been associated with other scam websites that advertise discounted items such as kitchen appliances, hair dryers and vacuum cleaners.
Tips to avoid fake websites
- Be suspicious about:
- Great ‘deals’ served to you via an internet search or pop-ups – scammers hope to catch you out when you impulse-buy after seeing a bargain.
- Unfamiliar or new websites – look for a copyright year on the homepage, although this date can also be faked.
- Websites that do not list a physical address, telephone number or ABN, or if these details cannot be verified.
- Insecure payment methods such as direct bank transfer or wire transfer.
- Pixelated photos, spelling errors and other clues that you may be looking at a copycat site of a real online business.
Protect yourself by:
- Using known reputable sites and paying by a secure system (look for the padlock symbol) with credit card or Paypal, which offers a chance to seek a chargeback if you don’t get what you paid for.
- Searching for reviews or warnings about the website from other shoppers or agencies such as Consumer Protection WA.
- Using Australian-based websites where possible, as it is hard to enforce Australian Consumer Law if an online business is based overseas.