Online shoppers are warned of a new scam as fake websites are popping up in imitation of popular fashion stores.
Fashion chain Dotti has shared a message to its customers, which urged them not to purchase products from a fraudulent site replicating the real one.
“We have been made aware that there are websites illegally using the Dotti name and logo in an attempt to scam customers and obtain personal information,” the chain wrote to members of their ‘Dotti Squad’.
The fashion retailer said the websites were not affiliated with Dotti and urged customers to be wary.
“Along with our retail stores, the only authorised websites that sell genuine Dotti products are dotti.com.au and dotti.co.nz.
“We strongly advise not to purchase from any other website due to the risk of fraud.”
They also reminded customers that any messages received on social media that do not have a verified blue tick are not from the brand. They asked people not to respond to the scammers.
“We hope you all continue to enjoy shopping with us and remain safe online,” Dotti wrote.
It comes after a spike in online fraud during 2022, which saw Australians lose millions of dollars.
In response, the national scam watchdog has shared tips to spot the fake sites.
The ACCC’s ScamWatch site said scammers are using new technology to set up the fake retailer sites which allows them to look like genuine online stores.
While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.
“They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, and even a ‘.com.au’ domain name and stolen Australian Business Number (ABN),” the ScamWatch website said.
“Many of these websites offer luxury items such as popular brands of clothing, jewellery and electronics at very low prices.
“Sometimes you will receive the item you paid for but they will be fake, other times you will receive nothing at all.”
They said a big indicator that a site may be fake is the payment method. Scammers will often ask for payment via money order, a pre-loaded money card, or a wire transfer.
“If you send your money this way, it’s unlikely you will see it again or receive your purchased item,” ScamWatch warned.
The watchdog cautioned fake social media platforms can be used to set up the fake stores, which are often open for a short amount of time and sell fake branded items.
“After making a number of sales, the stores disappear,” ScamWatch said.
“They also use social media to advertise their fake website, so do not trust a site just because you have seen it advertised or shared on social media.
“The best way to detect a fake trader or social media online shopping scam is to search for reviews before purchasing.”
Anyone who may have fallen victim to a fake online shopping scam can report it here.