Online scams are becoming increasingly common these days with little to nothing being done to stop them. You might be shocked to know how easy it is to run scam ads on social media platforms. Except for ads on sensitive topics like politics, there is no verification process such as Know Your Customer (KYC) to know who is running these ads. The only real requirement is a working card!
One of the most common types of shopping scam currently are bait-and-switch scams run by organized scammers from China. They lure social media users with ads using images and videos lifted from real businesses. Once a customer places an order, the seller ships out items that are much inferior to what was advertised. In the below examples, you can see how the ‘all metal’ scale RC Excavators advertised on Facebook turned out to be low-quality plastic toys that aren’t even remote controlled!
Source:Sponsored Ads Exposed (Facebook)
People all over the world, especially North Americans, Europeans and Australians, are being heavily targeted with these fake ads. Scammers have a profit margin of nearly 100% which means that they have huge budgets to spend on advertising. Internet companies are all too happy to take their money, therefore, awareness about these scams is essential to avoid falling victim to them.
There are some simple things to keep in mind while shopping for RC Construction Models online. Pay attention to the following signs:
Scam ads prey on the fact that most people are not aware of how much RC Construction Models actually cost. These are not mere toys, rather scale replicas that are made with immense attention to detail. Sophisticated models, such as this KABOLITE 336GC Model, can cost up to $1,899.99.
On the other hand, fake online stores offer high-end models for $30 to $50! An easy way to bust this lie is to compare prices onsites such as Amazon. Unbelievably low prices are often the most obvious sign of a scam.
Scam sites are usually very new as they exist only for a few months before closing down. This is done so that they can dissociate from the negative reviews that accumulate over time.
You can perform a simple WHOIS lookup by pasting the website’s URL on whois.com. This will show you the domain registration date, which is basically the website’s ‘birthday’. You may also find information such as the registrant’s location and name if it hasn’t been hidden using a paid privacy service.
Below is the WHOIS lookup details for our website, xtreemrc.com. As you can see, we have been delivering quality RC Construction Models since 2018. Most scam websites only last a few months before disappearing. If a website is years old, it can be an indicator that the store is legitimate. There are other important steps to take to ensure you are not scammed, but the WHOIS check serves as a good starting point.
Scam sites are created in bulk (hundreds at a time) and use the same template, including text content such as the About Us page. This page is meant for sharing information regarding the company and their values. As scam sites are usually clones of each other, you can copy a single line from this page and paste it in any search engine. If the results show that several sites contain the same text, it is very likely to be a network of scam websites!
One of the first things you should do before making a purchase is to check the site’s Contact Us page. Scam sites will often only provide support via email and there will be no information regarding the company such as its name, address, phone number and registration number.
If there is a phone number provided, call them to confirm that it is a real company. The information could be fake! If the site only has an email address, it may be wise to shop somewhere else.
Chinese scam rings are also known to create shell companies in the UK to process payments. You may see the information of a UK-based company on the site, but the package will be shipped from China once you place the order.
There are quite a few ways to gauge whether an online store is trustworthy or not. One way is to check comments and reviews. Don’t go by reviews on the site itself, as these can easily be faked.
Instead, check sites such as TrustPilot and Facebook to read reviews by real customers. Sadly, these can be faked too, so look specifically for negative reviews containing complaints commonly associated with scam stores, such as false advertising, late delivery, slow delivery, missing items, inferior products, poor customer support and refusal to provide refunds. It’s also a good idea to join Facebook groups related to your interests and look for stores that are recommended by trusted members in the group.
Sites like Scamadviser and Scam-detector also provide computer-generated ‘trust scores’ based on several factors that can give an idea of whether a site is likely to be legitimate or a scam. The scores are not always accurate, so don’t use them as a substitute for common sense!
Xtreem RC has recently been setup on ScamAdvisor with a 100% Trust score. As you can see in the below screenshot, there are some things we need to improve but overall our website is proven to be safe. You can view our score here: https://www.scamadviser.com/check-website/xtreemrc.com
You can also check James Greening’s website Fake Website Buster to see if a detailed review of the site is available or whether the site has been flagged as a scam. If not, you can request a manual review.
Before finalizing the payment, always check the name of the PayPal seller. It is usually given at the bottom of the payment page in small font. If you see a name that is different from the website’s, it is not a good idea to proceed.
Firstly, make sure that you only pay using a credit card or via PayPal, as these two methods provide the easiest ways to apply for refunds.
Credit cards have a ‘chargeback’ facility that you can avail for a certain period after making the purchase. The duration depends on the company that issued the card. If you end up getting scammed, contact your card company immediately to file a chargeback claim.
PayPal is one of the more secure ways to pay, but that doesn’t mean scammers don’t misuse it. Scammers rely on the fact that most people will accept even a partial refund. The products that they ship are almost worthless, which means that they make a good profit even after issuing a partial refund.
If a customer pushes for a full refund, the scammers make a ridiculous demand that the item must be shipped back to China at the customer’s own expense (which often costs more than the item itself). This is usually enough to make most people give up on the matter and accept a fraction of their payment back.
To apply for a refund through PayPal, you can visit the Resolution Centre on PayPal’s website to open a dispute. It might be an even better idea to call up PayPal’s customer support number and get in touch with a real person. Do not accept the seller’s demand to ship the items back, citing that the item is ‘not as described’ and that it was never revealed as being shipped from China.
The moment you realize you have been scammed, put aside your embarrassment and act fast. The quicker you act, the better your chances of getting your entire money back.
Shopping scams are not just hard on shoppers, but on businesses too. At XTREEM RC, we routinely get messages from angry customers of scammers who don’t realize that they have fallen for a scam. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do except explain to them they have fallen victim to a fake website.
Here is a video showing some of our popular RC Construction Models and warning our followers about the rise of RC Construction scams on Facebook.
You can also read some reviews below from our happy customers:
We hope that these tips will help you keep yourself and your family safe from shopping scams! Remember to never trust social media ads blindly as they may not have your best interests in mind.
XTREEM RC is an Australian Owned and registered Business (A.C.N 645 603 890 Pty Ltd, ABN 16 645 603 890) and an officially authorised dealer of Huina RC Construction models!
There's simply no better place to find a variety of quality RC Machinery and Construction products than at XTREEM RC. We provide our customers with the best RC Excavators, Loaders, Dump Trucks and Various other RC Construction models and we have stock and support staff in Australia and the USA. We also have a large range of Spare Parts and Accessories for the entire Huina fleet.
As a Reputable and Authorised Dealer of the Huina brand, you can be sure that you will receive a quality machine that matches the advertising and lives up to expectation!