Scams, scams everywhere! It seems like the year of scams, and as if the AusPost scam texts weren’t enough, now there are copycat websites ready to scam you when you’re trying to shop with your favourite brands.
The national consumer watchdog has received countless reports of imposter websites for popular Australian brands, and they’re warning Aussie shoppers that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Reports show that imitation websites for brands like Gorman, Peter Alexander, and RM Williams are being advertised on social media to lure in customers. These fake sites claim to sell the same products as your favourite Aussie brands, but at a significantly discounted price. Unfortunately, those who have made purchases from these websites either receive something completely different from what they ordered or nothing at all.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, one site pretending to be the PJ giant, Peter Alexander, even had the same branding and text on its pages, including the “About Peter” page, as the real deal. However, there is one major difference that can help you sniff out these scams – the page URL. While the fake Peter Alexander site offers goods at an 80% discount, the URL doesn’t include the brand’s name at all.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission spokesperson mentioned told the Sydney Morning Herald that they have received reports of websites using sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, .com.au domain names, and even stolen ABNs. These deceptive sites often offer luxury items such as popular clothing brands, jewellery, and electronics at unbelievably low prices. Sometimes you might receive the item you paid for, but it will be a fake. Other times, you’ll receive absolutely nothing.
Another way to identify a scam website is if the payment options are limited and the site tries to force customers to use a card instead of offering secure options like PayPal. After learning that customers were scammed by one of these fake websites, Melbourne-based fashion brand Gorman issued a warning on social media. They expressed their disappointment and posted on their Instagram page earlier this month, stating:
“We are deeply heartbroken to hear that some of our customers have unknowingly fallen victim to a scam website masquerading as our company.”
Scammers are getting smarter and better at designing websites. Always double-check the URLs, ensure secure payment options, and be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.