The Boating Industry Association is alerting the public to be vigilant when browsing online due to concerns over shopping scams.
BIA spokesman Neil Patchett said the industry is concerned about an increase in sophisticated scam websites that appear on search engines promoting popular brands at discounted prices.
“A good way to avoid these scams is to buy from a trusted retailer such as a member of the BIA who are required to abide by an industry code of ethics and behaviour,” he said. “If an online deal appears too good to be true, check the dealer is legitimate before making an online payment. You can search for BIA members at https://discoverboating.com.au/ where there is also an online marketplace to find products available from members.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recorded an 89 percent increase in the public reporting scams compared with the same period last year.
A particular scam to be aware of is the set up a fake or ‘phishing’ website that is designed to lure buyers into believing they’re purchasing goods online from legitimate businesses.
Marketing Manager Suzuki Marine Australia, Mr Lewis Croft, said: “There are sophisticated online scams websites promoting outboard motors. These scam websites purposely set out to encourage the browser to make an online transaction, take their money and fail to deliver, the scam website then disappears.”
Choice offers the following ways to ‘spot a scam’:
• The URL name is unusual
• The price is too good to be true
• The web address or website has missing information, spelling errors and poor phrasing
• It has damning reviews
• It has unusual payment methods
• It is missing a padlock and trust seal eg., secure sites have the more secure https:// prefix instead of http:// (without an ‘s’)
• It is an Australian site with no ABN.
If you have been scammed, help others by reporting it to the ACCC’s Report a scam webpage.
Choice has more information on ‘spot a scam’ at: https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/online-shopping/buying-online/articles/how-to-spot-a-fake-fraudulent-or-scam-website
For information on boating go to: www.discoverboating.com.au; for BIA Marketplace: https://discoverboating.com.au/marketplace/