The popularity of online shopping continues to rise, with consumers attracted by its convenience, wider choice and more competitive prices. For most, the experience of buying items through online stores like electricaldiscountuk.co.uk is a pleasant and hassle free. However, not all online consumers are quite so fortunate, with many falling victim of evermore sophisticated scams. Just how advanced these online scams have become was highlighted recently on the BBC’s The One Show, who investigated the case of an Essex man who ordered a new TV through Amazon.
A Reputable Site?
Struggling to hear the sound from his current television properly, Chris Bayliss decided it was time to buy a new model. Chris, who has limited mobility and gets around on a mobility scooter, finds it easier to shop online and so began looking for a suitable TV. He set his heart on a model that cost £920, which he decided to order from Amazon, a brand he recognised and felt he could trust.
Unfortunately, Chris was the victim of an elaborate scam and never received his new TV. The site that he ordered from was not in fact the real Amazon site, but a fake site. The con is so sophisticated that the fake site not only looks exactly like and works the same as the real Amazon site, but even knows your personal details and logs you in using your real Amazon account information.
This is possible thanks to a ‘wireframe’ being placed over the top of the real site, which is essentially a shell. The browser is looking at the real website, but via a third-party site. This site was used by the scammer to ask Chris for payment via direct bank transfer, through convincing emails, whilst directing him away from the standard Amazon payment system, which incorporates protected card payment.
Having contacted Amazon over the matter, Chris was informed that he was not covered by their Safe Buying Guarantee, as the purchase was not made through their site. Although Amazon stated that they had removed the seller from their site, Chris was left out of pocket to the tune of £920 and had to spend the same again to get his new TV. So, what could he have done differently to protect himself from falling foul of such a scam?
The key moment of such scams is when the consumer is directed away from the real website to a fake site. In this case, the new site that Chris was directed to had a fake yet similar address, continuing the illusion that he was on a real website.
It is important that when purchasing items online that you check regularly throughout the buying process to ensure that you are still on the official website and haven’t been redirected to a fake site; thus ensuring you are covered by their protection policies. In addition, you should always look for secure sites, which are indicated by the prefix https in the address box:
The additional ‘S’ at the end of the standard http stands for secure and will often be accompanied by padlock symbol, as shown in the image above. Be aware that the location of the secure padlock can vary dependant on the browser that you are using and could be somewhere in the address bar, or down in the bottom right-hand corner of the browser. You will see this in the address bar of the electricaldiscountuk.co.uk website once you have added an item to your shopping basket.
A final precaution that you can take is to make payment for your order using a credit card. This way, if you do fall victim of a scam, the goods turn out to be faulty or the dealer goes under, you have an additional layer of protection which is provided by the card issuer.