How to spot a scam website: ‘Always be wary of scam ads’ and look for warning signs in URL

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Have you been on a social media platform and seen ads and clicked on them to find a website that you’re not sure about or end up making a purchase and it never turns up? You may have experienced a scam website. Even if you trust a platform you should always be wary of scam ads.

So how do you spot a scam advert?

The domain name should align with the brand name.

This means the ad’s company name will normally be the same or similar to the brand. On social media you will often see ads for clothing brands having 24 hour discount sales and the website URL is nothing like the brand.

The price is too good to be true. The same ads often have prices that are amazingly cheap, for example £90 jacket on sale for £5. The ads are aimed at making you need to move quickly, scams are all about you not having time to think before you act.

The reviews are all too good or have poor English if you look up their reviews.

Woman fights back the the tears after revealing how she was scammed

Often new sites will not have a rating on a review site, or they have had lots of reviews and all are amazing very recently.

The other example of a fake website is they have review scores on their site that are fake.

The final check is to look at the terms and conditions for the website.

All companies need to put in their registered name and registered address in their terms and conditions, from this you can work out where the company is based. Is this where you thought they were?

I would recommend only purchasing from a website that is based in the UK or Europe as you have the best legal rights for returning goods that you purchased.

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Scambusters Mail bag – answering your scam questions

How do I report a scam call?

Scambusters 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 quick service which is to put the phone down and call 159.

I think I may have fallen for an advertising scam, what do I do now?

Scambusters say: If you are on the website and have not made a purchase then close the website immediately. That is the best case.

If you have made the purchase already then speak to your bank. Ask them to consider a refund.

There is a specific code set up for these cases, so the bank should consider all the facts you give them.

Lastly, we would also ask you to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk or contact the Scottish Police on 101.

Tip of the week

If you are receiving unwanted text messages or WhatsApp messages you can hide alerts or mark as spam on your phone by swiping on the text message from the main text message on the WhatsApp menu.

This means you will not receive the message anymore with your phone or WhatsApp suppressing the messages.

If you have received a text you think is a scam then you can forward to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to [email protected]

If you are receiving lots of unwanted phone calls or text messages you can also consider removing your details from data brokers, ensuring that you use a right to object to processing of your data.

You can learn more about this on Rightly to stop the sharing of your data exposing you to scams.

And you can take a free training course on how to fight against scams on www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.

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