A scammer pretends to be a legitimate online seller, either setting up a fake online store/website or a fake ad on a genuine retail site.
How this scam works
Most online sellers are legitimate; however, scammers use the latest technology to create websites that look realistic, using stolen logos, “.com” domain names and offer popular brands of clothing, jewelry and electronics at enticingly low prices. Many times the items received will be counterfeit or items purchased will not be received at all.
Often times, scammers will use social media platforms to create fake online stores or advertise to attract people.
What to Look For
If the prices are unrealistically low for common goods or the products offer benefits that seem too good to be true, they usually are.
If the store asks you to pay in ways other than a credit or debit card, such as electronic funds transfer, that will leave you without any protection or recourse when the purchased items do not arrive or are counterfeit.
The site is from social media and is selling name brands at extremely low prices, but also has limited information about delivery, store policies, privacy, terms & conditions, dispute resolution or contact details.
How to Protect Yourself
- Vet the website – look for refund and returns policies, look for reviews of the website from other consumers.
- Avoid making any online payment that is not using a secure payment service.
- Make sure the website starts with “https” and a closed padlock symbol. Never give credit card or online account details to websites you do not feel are legitimate.
- Do not pay for goods with any up-front method such as money order, electronic currency or pre-loaded cards.