Buyer Beware: Online Shopping Scams Skyrocket

Scammers Target Online Bargain Hunters.

Scammers target online bargain hunters. Credit: angellodeco/

Have you ever been tempted by an online bargain that seems too good to be true?

The National Police recently cracked down on fraudulent websites mimicking famous clothing brands, revealing a sophisticated scam targeting unsuspecting online shoppers.

In a major operation in December 2023, the National Police blocked several websites designed to defraud consumers by imitating the websites of prestigious clothing brands.

These counterfeit sites, which copied the design, logos, and layout of legitimate brands, were heavily promoted via social media ads, luring shoppers with the promise of high discounts.

Sophisticated Scam Tactics

The criminals’ strategy involved using phishing and spoofing techniques to replicate well-known clothing brand websites.

These fake sites offered products at significantly reduced prices, much lower than their actual market value. After customers made purchases, they were charged, but the orders were never delivered.

International Fraud

The scam was international in scope. The domains were registered with companies in third countries, primarily in America and Asia, while the hosting servers were located in the United States.

Payments were processed through a business in Brazil. The rise in online shopping during the Christmas season provided a perfect opportunity for these scammers to take advantage of consumers looking for festive deals.

Consumer Caution Advised

The Cybercrime Unit of the National Police advises consumers to be vigilant against offers of popular items at large discounts.

They recommend checking the URL carefully to ensure it matches the official store’s website and to be wary of offers received via email or social media.

‘Be careful with promotions that arrive by email or social networks!’ the National Police warn. ‘These may include a link that redirects you to a fraudulent website where they attempt to steal your personal and financial information.’

Tips For Safe Online Shopping

In light of these events, the National Police have offered several tips for safe online shopping.

  • Be sceptical of promotions received through email or social networks.
  • Watch out for popular items offered at excessive discounts.
  • Verify the URL spelling of the website you visit.
  • Assess the quality of the online store’s design, such as image quality and text translation.
  • Avoid making purchases if the site seems suspicious and requests only card or bank details.
  • If you suspect fraud, change passwords, cancel cards immediately, contact your bank, and report to the National Police.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.