Lincolnshire Police and Action Fraud are warning local residents that fraudsters are setting up high specification websites, advertising various electrical goods and domestic appliances - although these goods are below market value, and do not exist.
The website will state you can pay via card; however, when the purchaser goes to pay, this option is not available and the payment must be made via bank transfer.
The fraudster entices the purchaser and reassures them it is a legitimate purchase by using the widely recognised Trusted Shop Trustmark. They then use the Trustmark fraudulently and provide a link on the bogus electrical website to another bogus website (which purports to be Trusted Shops). This website shows a fake certificate purporting to be from Trusted Shops and provides thousands of reviews - all fraudulent - for the bogus electrical website.
The website has not been certified by Trusted Shops and therefore the purchaser is not covered by the Trusted Shop money-back guarantee.
You can protect yourself by doing the following:
• Check the authenticity of the website before making any purchases. Conduct a ‘Whois’ search on the website which will identify when the website has been created- Be wary of newly formed domains. You can conduct this search using the following website – https://who.is/
• Conduct online research in relation to the website, company name and the business address provided to identify any poor feedback or possible irregularities.
• Check the Trusted Shops Facebook page where warnings about websites using their Trustmark are published. If you are in doubt about the legitimacy of a Trustmark then you can contact Trusted Shops on 0203 364 5906 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. They will confirm whether they have certified that website.
• Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item. Therefore always try to make the payment via PayPal or a credit card where you have some payment cover should you not receive your product.
• Remember - if the item advertised seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.