By Gail Burke
Online shoppers have lost more than $110,000 in a scam targeting Queenslanders and more people are expected to fall prey, the State Crime Command says.
The command’s Financial and Cyber Crime group is investigating 126 reports of people losing money on about 27 websites that advertise heavily discounted items including barbecues, outboard motors, air conditioners and gym equipment.
The fake websites since taken down by police include: airconditionerexperts.com.au, appliancediscounters.com.au, appliancespecialists.com.au, barbecuesales.com.au, bbqmaster.com.au, bbqdeals.com.au, gymsource.com.au, expertfitness.com.au and bbqmasters.com.au.
Victims were encouraged to pay cash for the goods that were never delivered.
Acting Detective Inspector Peter Robb said officers were looking for two people.
“We believe a man and a woman who may be able to assist us with our investigation are currently in Brisbane,” he said.
“If you have any information relating to the people, we’d ask you to call Policelink, [and] if you have fallen victim to this type of scam or any other online scam, to report the matter.”
Acting Detective Inspector Robb said police were working with hosting agencies to take down the websites, but believed there may be more websites and even more victims.
“We would also encourage the public to stay vigilant when shopping online and remember if it’s too good to be true then it probably is,” he said.
“By shopping online at sites that you know are trusted and using established payment systems that offer buyer protection, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.”