Are you the kind of person who trusts someone when they say they will do something? Do you regularly put your faith in strangers, even when it comes to money? If so, it might be time to get wise. Online scammers are a dime a dozen, and in today’s day and age, if you’re not careful, you will almost definitely be scammed online in one way or another.

Being scammed online is a common occurrence. Have you ever received a call from a concerned “Microsoft” tech support person regarding a “security breach” on your computer? This is one of the more well-known scams that have been circulating ever since the advent of technology. It usually involves an offshore team of scammers working off a script to try and get you to send them your bank details or open up your computer to a virus that then hacks your system, making it vulnerable to breach.

Online Trading Scams

Being scammed online sometimes happens during online trading transactions, where scammers target unsuspecting traders who buy or sell products using the Internet. This is also a shamefully common approach amongst scammers that involves the scammer requesting that money be sent as a “deposit” or “holding fee”, without any intention of sending the product being purchased (if the product even exists).

Example

Bob wanted to buy a puppy for his daughter, Denise for Christmas. He searched online and found a Golden Retriever breeder that was advertising the puppies for $1,000 each. Bob was not wealthy and saved for 3 months to buy the puppy for his daughter as a surprise. He contacted, Phil, who had advertised his number online. Phil asked Bob to send $1,000 and told Bob that the dogs had been so popular that only one remained. Knowing Denise wanted a Golden Retriever, Bob decided he would send the money, which Phil said would cover the final vet costs and the cost of the Puppy. Once the money left Bob’s account, he tried to contact Phil but the number had been disconnected. He looked up the address and realised that it didn’t exist. Unfortunately for Bob, he had been scammed online. Bob should firstly report this incident to the trading website on which Phil was advertising the puppies, and then to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

Different Scamming Techniques

There are a variety of ways that scammers try to take your money, including the following:

  • Under-price products online and then never send the product after receiving payment;
  • They may pretend to have paid the seller more than the price advertised, make up an excuse for the supposed overpayment, request a refund of the excess, and never have sent any money at all;
  • Offer miracle cures for things like weight loss, when really the product is a fake;
  • Send a bill to small businesses requesting payment of a service – typically some sort of advertisement/directory listing – when the owner never requested this service;
  • Use natural disaster events to ‘raise money’ by pretending to be a charity;
  • Tell you your computer is being attacked by a virus and attempt to gain access to your confidential information; or
  • Offer ‘free’ goods by signing up to ‘premium’ services.

Conclusion

If you feel like you have been scammed online, and are seeking legal advice about what course of action to take, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and speak to one of our experienced business lawyers today. Remember to report any suspicious online trading activity to the websites they appear on, as well as the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

 

Lachlan McKnight

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