Ever heard the expression, “if it’s too good to be true then it probably is”?
If you think you’ve scored yourself a sweet deal but find that thought echoing in the back of your mind, you might want to listen to it.
Unfortunately there are all sorts of dastardly characters out there who have anything but honourable intentions and one example of their scams is the infamous ‘White Van Scam’.
This scam isn’t anything new and has been around long before the internet came along. However, now that we have all made the shift online, this scam has followed suit.
What is the ‘White Van Scam’?
This scam involves someone selling high-end electronic goods with fantastic specifications at crazy cheap prices. These goods were originally sold out of the back of dodgy white vans, as opposed to online, hence the name.
Unfortunately the product isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and is nothing but a let-down. You’ll have parted with your hard earned cash and will only have a pile of junk to show for it.
How do you spot this scam?
The good news is that there are a few tell-tale signs that you should look out for:
- It will often be an electronic item. It is super easy to talk these up and everyone is always after them.
- The item is likely to be a brand that you have never heard of.
- The product may be marketed as the latest and greatest from some far reaching corner of the globe and you’ll often find a swanky website that goes with it, singing its praises. Unfortunately the website is just about as legitimate as the product itself.
- The scammers may try to draw you in with a drastic price cut. You’ll be made to think that you are about to score the deal of the century, getting that new stereo for $500 instead of its original $3,000 price tag.
If the item you are looking at shows these signs, your alarm bells should start ringing.
So what can I do?
Simply put, knowledge, common sense and your gut instinct is your best defence here.
Do your homework on the product that is being sold. Scout out some reviews online. Check if you can find the product on more than one site. Do the search results show if the product is known to be used in this scam?
As always, if you come across something that just doesn’t feel right, don’t buy it.
Be sure to loop in our Policing team via the Community Watch button at the bottom of every listing, if you have any concerns.
If you want to know more about the other kinds of scams out there, check out our handy online scam guide.
Creative Commons image used courtesy raver-mikey on Flickr.