SINCE the dawn of the Internet people have tried to use the information super-highway as a way of gaining illegitimate financial gain from unsuspecting victims.
Be it phishing emails, prize scams or a long-lost relative who’s left you an enormous sum of money in a foreign bank account, these scams and the methods used are becoming ever more complex and believable.
Over the last few months though, the new kid on the block of dishonesty has been the dubious-looking selling pages purporting to sell high-end motorcycle clothing and helmets at massively reduced prices. If it seems to good to be true, chances are it is. However, if you need more advice on how to prevent yourself getting duped, read on…
How do you spot a potential scam post?
So, you’re searching for a sweet new lid and the AGV Pista GP Rossi rep takes your fancy. You’ve seen one advertised on a post on Facebook and like the price. Before you click on the image of the helmet – which will take you away from Facebook and to a slick looking and professionally built website – look at the page that’s promoting the post.
Quite often the page you are taken to will have nothing to do with motorcycle clothing or safety equipment. It may be a fashion page or even somebody’s personal Facebook page that’s been hacked.
Now ask yourself, would a page that sells hoodies and t-shirts or a personal blog page be the best place to purchase the single most important piece of motorcycle gear you own?
Copy the URL of the external site and investigate it
Website tools like WhoIs.net reveal information about websites, such as:
· How long it has been live
· Where the website originates from
· Who the registrar of the site is
· What the primary subject matter of the site is
Based on this information you can make a pretty good assumption as to whether the site you are looking at is legitimate or not.
If the site has only been registered for a few weeks, ask yourself: Is that enough time for a company to set up the infrastructure and trade links to send expensive items to customers with next day delivery?
Check out a site that you know is legit and compare the prices
Look, we all love a bargain but before you commit to the purchase, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘can that item really be sold at that price’?!
Most retail outlets work on a profit margin of between 15% to 25%, dependant on the items they sell, the price point that they sell them at and how much buying power the shop has – massive outlets command a higher margin as they generally buy in bulk. Items at the more budget end of the spectrum may carry less profit than more premium ones. Once you take off vendor profit, look at what’s left.
If that’s more than the lid is offered for on the suspect site, then your warning bells should be ringing.
What can I do to stop online scammers?
First thing to do when you spot a potential scam site is to report it to Facebook.
Click on the three dots on the top right of the post (see above) and you get the option to report the post as malicious or a scam. Click the button and post is deleted from your newsfeed and Facebook should investigate it.
The best way to stop the scammers is to not fall foul of their tactics – the less money they steal from us hardworking folk, the less money they’ll have to spend on promoting their pages on Facebook!
Have you seen or been the victim of a Facebook selling scam? Let us know in the comments below.