Scammers are setting up fake online sites mimicking genuine retailers, designed to rip off consumers.
A number of Victorian consumers have fallen victim to the bogus sites, Victoria's minister Consumer Affairs said today.
Consumers complained to Consumer Affairs Victoria after buying electronics from what they believed was a genuine online seller. But after ordering and paying for the products, they never arrived.
Scammers use 'real' sellers contact details on the fake websites. However, the real company has no record of the order made.
Consumer Affairs Victoria recently shut down a fake site directdiscountwarehouse.com.au, but there are concerns similar scams could still be operating.
"This is a sophisticated scam, where the scammers use the details of a legitimate business including its name, address, contact details and ABN to convince shoppers they're dealing with a legitimate business," Minister for Consumer Affairs Heidi Victoria said.
"This warning is as much for businesses as consumers, to be wary when buying from online shopping sites and to report it immediately if phantom orders are reported to your business."
A tell-tale sign that you are dealing with fake websites is they 'll often request a direct money transfer, or have no refund policy or dispute resolution information on their website.
Last year, Consumer Affairs Victoria recorded around 220 cases of shopping and trading scams, including cases where a scammer advertises fake goods to trick consumers into sending money or use fake cheques to buy from genuine sellers.
There are some helpful tips to identify fake websites: