WA consumers in the market for shipping containers are being scammed by fake websites with losses for 2022 already exceeding the total for the entire year of 2021.
Eight victims have reported to WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection losing a total of almost $54,500 so far this year, compared to losses of almost $49,000 in 2021. The highest individual loss for 2022 was $12,150 and $13,000 in 2021.
Shipping containers are in strong demand from consumers who use them for storage or transport, or may want to convert them into living quarters.
Victims are lured to the fake websites by advertisements on online marketplaces such as Facebook or Gumtree. After purchase, they are sent an invoice to pay by direct bank transfer and then, once paid, hear nothing more from the bogus business.
Some victims report, however, that demands for more money are sometimes made using the excuses of delivery issues, customs clearances and/or insurance fees.
Executive Director for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said there are some key signs to watch out for that indicate the website is a trap.
“Be very suspicious when goods are being advertised well below market prices and the only way to pay is by bank transfer, as these are signs of a possible scam,” Ms Blake said.
“It is important to only use secure payment methods…