While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.
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 ‘au’ domain name and stolen Australian Business Number (ABN).
Many of these websites offer luxury items such as popular brands of clothing, jewellery and electronics at very low prices.
Sometimes you will receive the item you paid for but they will be fake, other times you will receive nothing at all.
After making a number of sales, the stores disappear.
They also use social media to advertise their fake website, so do not trust a site just because you have seen it advertised or shared on social media.
The best way to detect an fake trader or social media online shopping scam is to search for reviews before purchasing.
If you have bought something online and there is a problem, you should first try to contact the retailer or auction service. If you are not satisfied with the response and suspect that it may be a scam, you may be able to arrange a charge-back through your bank or credit union if you have paid by credit card.
You may wish to contact your local consumer protection agency to seek assistance.