Derry’s Christmas shopping bargain hunters have been warned to be on their guard against con artists keen to scam people out of their money.
Trading Standards says consumers in the north are stung by scamsters to the tune of £100 million every year.
They says fake websites selling counterfeit goods and fake online credit application sites, are the most likely way local people will be conned.
Damien Doherty of Trading Standards Service (TSS), says even the most canny of shoppers can get caught.
“The current uncertain economic climate is providing an ideal opportunity for scams to thrive and TSS is being inundated daily with complaints about the latest cons and frauds.”
TSS say many shoppers will be buying presents online for their loved ones this Christmas but end up purchasing fake goods by mistake. The most common complaints are about GHD hair straightners, UGG boots, make-up and jewellery. However consumers have also reported buying a wide variety of fake goods ranging from clothes and shoes to iPods.
TSS says shoppers should stick to websites they know and trust and advise people to use search engines to research a website to see if people have had problems with them.
TSS also is warning people about fake credit offers and fraudulent loans.
They say a person will typically reply to an advert for a fast loan and will have their application approved regardless of their credit history. But before they receive the loan, they are told them must pay an upfront fee to cover insurance for the loan. In most cases, consumers are asked to send money to India as ‘admin fees’. TSS say the best advice is to avoid any loan company that asks for such a fee.
Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of a scam is urged to contact TSS on 0300 123 6262 or log on to www.consumerline.org