Trading Standards reveal top 5 Web scams

Lincolnshire Trading Standards have revealed the top tricks internet scammers use to rip off Web users in the county, in the hope people will not fall victim anymore.

Trading Standards made the list to highlight the most common scams consumers in Lincolnshire contact them about.

The top five include phone calls offering to fix computers remotely, fake products and free trials.

Enforcement Officer at Lincolnshire Trading Standards Chad Saratoon said: “Online scammers are using increasingly more deceptive and underhand ways of convincing unsuspecting consumers that their sites and offers are genuine.

“The top five shows that they are also exploiting the current economic climate, with fake loans, cheap goods and ‘free’ offers.

“If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, and what can seem like a good deal often result in consumers ending up out of pocket.”

The Top Five internet scams in Lincolnshire are:

  • Remote PC Support: These are usually cold callers claiming to be from Microsoft, stating that your computer has been corrupted and will crash. People are made to believe the remote “repair” service is free. Then caller than makes high charges, and Trading Standards have had reports of aggressive practices such as swearing and threatening to re-infect machines if not payment is sent.
  • Counterfeit Goods: Many people have complained to Trading Standards about fake products, such as Ugg boots, GHD hair straighteners and iPods. They products are low quality, and people are unable to get refunds or return the item. As well as electronic goods potentially being dangerous, some products don’t even reach buyers, being destroyed at customs instead.
  • Fake credit providers/ online loan applications: Filling in personal details online for credit cards or loans and then receiving a barrage of cold callers offering more loans etc. Sometimes consumers are asked to send money to India as “admin fees” and then never hear back.
  • Fake ticket sellers: Also known as ticket touting. Trading Standards receive a lot of complaints in summer months regarding websites selling tickets to festivals or sporting events (usually after the event has sold out on official provider’s websites) that don’t actually exist. Most people then don’t get their tickets or money back.
  • ‘Free’ trials for health/beauty supplements: Some complaints are from people who signed up to free product trials, usually beauty or weight related. Usually the company will provide the free trial but then, hidden away in the T&Cs or written in legal jargon, will automatically begin charging the consumer for expensive monthly supplies unless they cancel in a very specific way.
Source: Lincolnshire County Council | Photo: Don Hankins