Starkdigital: fake web shop27 Nov 2006
While writing my previous post on the Canon 400D camera, I came across a site that advertises one such camera at €380 – with ‘free international shipping’. The 30D they sell for €480 and the professional 5D for €1400. At a respectable online shop like Foto Konijnenberg, those prices are €739, €1199 and €3139, respectively. So is this too good to be true? Yes indeed, it is!
Uk-based(?) webstore DexDigital.co.uk (gone, but resurrected as MobiTeh.co.uk, EastElectronics.co.uk, Gonex.co.uk, AnviDirect.co.uk, cxMusic.co.uk, wMusic.co.uk, aigars.co.uk, orvisinc.co.uk and StarkDigital.co.uk) has given this concept a new, and far more sinister, twist. Read on to learn how the scam works.
I clicked on an Google Adsense ad that said “a 400D for €380” and was redirected to starkdigital.co.uk. The site is now down, but at that moment, it looked like a bona-fide site, only with ridiculously low prices. They let you buy something, and when you check out, the only way of paying is Western Union, i.e. sending real money to another place. Once it’s arrived, they collect it and never send you your goods. The FBI calls this a Non-Delivery of Merchandise scheme. Also detected by aa419 (“Artists Against 419” or anti scam site)
- Google Adwords can also be used by ‘bad guys’. It’s not because the ads say “Ads by Google” that the vendor is trustworthy.
- There is value in brand name, certainly in an environment where the difference between a ‘good’ shop and a ‘bad’ cannot be deduced from the homepage. And the opinion of someone close weighs much more than any vague rumour. I bought at Konijnenberg because of word of mouth (thx, Ine). I was just introduced to Play.com (DVD/CD from UK, free shipping) by word of mouth (thx, Cheryl).
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You will not find a Canon 400D for less than €500 in the next couple of months.