Have you been on a social media platform and seen ads and clicked on them to find a website you’re not sure about or did you end up making a purchase and it never shows up? You may have come across a scam website. Even if you trust a platform, you should always be wary of fraudulent advertisements.
So how do you spot a fraudulent ad?
The domain name must match the brand name.
This means that the business name of the ad will normally be the same or similar to the brand. On social media, you will often see advertisements for clothing brands offering 24-hour discount sales and the website URL has nothing to do with the brand.
The price is too good to be true. The same adverts often have incredibly cheap prices, for example a £90 jacket on sale for £5. Ads aim to get you to act quickly, scams aim to make sure you don’t have time to think before you act.
The reviews are all too good or have poor English if you check their reviews.
READ MORE: Scammers’ computer trick that shows you’re about to be scammed: “Be careful”
Scambusters Mail bag – answering your questions about scams
How do I report a fraudulent call?
Scammers say: In England, Wales or Northern Ireland visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.
In Scotland, report to Police Scotland by calling 101. There is a new fast service which is to hang up and call 159.
I think I may have been the victim of an advertising scam, what should I do now?
Fraudsters say: if you are on the website and have not made a purchase, close the website immediately. It’s the best case scenario.
If you have already made the purchase, contact your bank. Ask them to consider a refund.
There is a specific code in place for these cases, so the bank must consider all the facts you provide.
Finally, we also ask that you report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk or contact Police Scotland on 101.
Tip of the week
If you receive unwanted text messages or WhatsApp messages, you can hide the alerts or mark as spam on your phone by dragging the text message from the main text message to the WhatsApp menu.
This means that you will no longer receive the message with your phone or WhatsApp deleting the messages.
If you have received an SMS that you think is a scam, you can forward it to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to [email protected]
If you receive a lot of unwanted phone calls or text messages, you may also consider removing your details from data brokers, ensuring that you use a right to object to the processing of your data.
You can read more about this on Rightly to stop sharing your data exposing you to scams.
And you can take free training on how to fight scams at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.