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Irish consumers scammed by fraudulent websites advertising on Facebook and Instagram

Well-known brands have distanced themselves from the websites, whose ads keep appearing on social media.
Aug 30th 2018, 12:05 AM 34,201 32

IRISH CONSUMERS HAVE been warned about a number of fraudulent websites advertising well-known brands for discount prices on social media.

Consumers across Europe have reported being scammed by websites advertising clothing and power tools, after clicking into them through links on Facebook and Instagram.

Although brands have warned customers that the sites are not official vendors of their products, and individuals alerting Facebook to the fraud, the ads still appear on both platforms.

One consumer who contacted TheJournal.ie revealed they were scammed into paying for three pairs of Ecco shoes for just €68 after visiting salesecco.com via an ad on social media.

However, instead of the shoes – which normally cost more than €100 a pair – the consumer received a pair of sunglasses.

They were also informed by their bank to cancel their credit card as a precaution, after the scammers attempted to charge them twice for the shoes.

No affiliation

listing on Ecco’s online store warns customers that salesecco.com is a “counterfeit website”, but despite contacting Facebook about being defrauded, the customer said they received no response.

“It was majorly frustrating,” they said.

“It would be easy to laugh and say ‘fool me once’, but these ads come around time and time again, [and are] always liked and shared by friends.”

Scam sunglasses The Ecco shoes ordered by one Journal.ie reader

Meanwhile, another website has also been found advertising power tools on behalf of Japanese brand Makita – whose products are worth hundreds of Euro – for heavily-reduced rates.

Two websites, toolpil.club and xbs-maki.club, purport to sell cordless drills, reciprocating saws and angle grinders at an 80% discount.

However, when contacted by TheJournal.ie, Makita warned customers that it had “no affiliation” with either site or any other claiming to be official dealers of their products.

In a statement, the company said: “As a company, Makita UK do not sell directly and as such don’t have an online official club.”

Makita2 A scam ad for a Makita drill

Makita added that it had reported the sites to trading standards authorities and the social media companies where the advertisements were seen.

Chargeback

Despite multiple requests, Facebook – which also owns Instagram – did not respond when asked to comment by TheJournal.ie.

A spokeswoman for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said it had received no complaints about salesecco.com, toolpil.club or xbs-maki.club this year.

However, the commission said there are a number of steps consumers can take to avoid being scammed.

If a customer believes they have been defrauded, the CCPC advises them to contact their card provider immediately, as the provider may agree to reverse the transaction, which is known as a “chargeback”.

The spokeswoman also said customers should check websites carefully for a name, physical address, and contact details, as well as checking reviews of the seller to see if they are legitimate or not.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland also said it had received no complaints about fraudulent websites operating via social media.

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Stephen McDermott

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