Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.
How this scam works
While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.
Fake retailer websites
Scammers use the latest technology to set up fake retailer websites that look like genuine online retail stores. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, and even a ‘.com.au’ domain name and stolen Australian Business Number (ABN).
The biggest tip-off that a retail website is a scam is the method of payment. Scammers will often ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded money card, or wire transfer, but if you send your money this way, it’s unlikely you will see it again or receive your purchased item.
Online auction sites
Most online auction sites (e.g. Ebay) have strict policies to ensure their customers are not scammed. Scammers know this, so they will often try to get people to make a deal outside the auction site. Scammers may claim that the winner of an auction you were bidding in has pulled out, and offer the item for sale to you. Once they have your money, you will never hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you.
Online classified websites
Online classified websites promote the sale of goods and services, but allow sellers and potential buyers to negotiate on a price outside of the website.
Scammers may pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads for anything, such as rental properties, pets, used cars, boats, bikes, caravans and horses. The scammers may advertise items at a price much lower than comparable items advertised on the same site. These are known as classified scams.
Scammers may also pose as buyers, send you a cheque for more than the required payment on an item, and then ask you to refund the difference. These are known as overpayment scams.
List of Scams
Gym and fitness equipmentRead More...
Watch out for fake gym and fitness websites, classified adverts, and social media pages operated by scammers.
23 September 2021
Fake shipping container websitesRead More...
WA ScamNet has received a number of reports about fake websites claiming to sell discounted shipping containers that are never delivered after payment is made.
6 May 2021
Pet scams: Cute pics but no pet receivedRead More...
Beware of fake websites and social media accounts that claimed to puppies, leaving buyers out of pocket and without a dog.
1 February 2021
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.
8 December 2020
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.
6 March 2020
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.
9 January 2020
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.
20 December 2019
Royal Online Bullies and Australian Breeder puppy scamRead More...
Consumers are warned not to engage with Royal Bufllies Online a fake puppy website.
20 December 2019
Caredez Farm puppy scamRead More...
Beware of fake French Bulldog website Caredez Farm
19 November 2019
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.
8 October 2019
Fake websites won’t deliverRead More...
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.
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.
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.
17 December 2019
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.
12 January 2018
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.
11 January 2018
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.
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.
6 November 2017
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.
22 August 2017
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.
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.
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.
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