CONSUMERS are being warned to steer clear of a scam mobile phone offer promising Apple and Samsung smart phones at almost half price.
The ads appeared in My Business magazine, and do not show the name of a retailer but instead directs people to the email address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
The ad also offers a free phone if three are purchased and claims to have the best prices for Apple iPads, Apple watches, Samsung Galaxy tablets as well as Nikon and Canon cameras.
No prices are listed, however, and Consumer Protection and the Small Business Development Corporation have labelled the advertisement a scam.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard has warned people to be wary of the ads, and said they could appear in other publications and online.
“A clear warning sign in this ad is the lack of any branding and having an email address as the only method of contact,” Mr Hillyard said.
“However, other scams of this type have used fake or stolen business names and Australian phone numbers which are normally diverted overseas.
“The best advice is to have a clear idea of exactly who you are dealing with before responding to an ad and definitely don’t hand over any money until you are sure it is an authentic company offering credible and genuine discounts.”
WA Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said full-page print advertisements like this can wrongly have an air of legitimacy.
“Scammers are becoming more brazen every day but people need to be on the alert for offers that seem too good to be true,” Mr Eaton said.
“These types of scam advertisements often attract busy small business owners who are looking for a bargain but are not able to take the time to fully investigate the veracity of the offer.
“Recovering lost funds from these types of scams is often impossible.”
WA ScamNet, a division of Consumer Protection, said people should look for the padlock icon and an ‘https’ prefix to any potential online transaction, and to conduct an internet search of the business name and email address, looking for customer feedback.
For more information, consumers can contact WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54,or by email: email@example.com.
Businesses can contact the Small Business Development Corporation on 131 249, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.