First, an excerpt from the case chronicle of the European Consumer Centre Italy in matters of fraud in online car purchases:- January 2021: Belgian colleagues ask for our cooperation in a fraud case. The Belgian consumer had paid 9000 euros for a used car to a supposedly Italian company;
– April 2021: A South Tyrolean consumer has already made a down payment to purchase a used car from a dealer supposedly based in Ireland;
– June 2021: A French consumer pays 9.500 euros to an Italian dealer for a mini-excavator;
– July 2021: A Polish consumer transfers 20.000 euros to buy a tractor in Italy;
– September 2021: A South Tyrolean consumer has an offer for a car purchase. He is skeptical and contacts the ECC in Bolzano
"All these cases are reminiscent of a restaging of reports of fraud already known to us, in which the identities of companies that actually exist have been cloned for fraudulent purposes. And our research strengthened the conviction that all of the cases mentioned above followed exactly this pattern," knows Julia Rufinacha, legal advisor at the ECC Italy – Bolzano office – to report. "Thus, we were able to locate a company actually registered in the Chamber of Commerce via the contact details provided. In most cases there was also a homepage. And this very homepage is often an important first indication of a fraudulent offer. In fact, in all the cases listed above, it turned out that the website had been set up only a few weeks ago", adds the consultant.
How to get the data related to the date of creation of an Internet site? Search for the keyword "domainsearch" and then enter the domain of the company. The data spit out by the search engine is sparse, but for your research, the date found under "Creation Date" is sufficient.
In some cases Chamber of Commerce extract, which is often even enclosed by the seller himself in order to inspire confidence, provide more information. For example, even the description of the activity, which can be seen from the Chamber of Commerce extract, can provide very helpful information.: If you look closely, you might find z. B. Realize that the activity description of the actually cloned company differs from the fraudulent offer, or there is no mention of an online sales form there.
"Scammers, of course, prefer to choose such companies for cloning that do not yet have an online presence: In this way, interested parties merely come across the fraudulent homepage during their online research," the ECC Italy consultant reveals to us.
Here is a compact summary of the most important features:
– A significantly lower selling price compared to the other offers;
– the seller's website has been set up only recently;
– the cloned, actual enterprise usually has no homepage;
– the email address used is similar to that of the actual company with the difference that it contains the extension of a free mail provider;
– documents, such as chamber of commerce statements, are willingly sent in order to appear serious. The identity of the actual company differs only in the description of the activity or the name of the company. In the form of distribution (z. B. Online sales);
– a trial period is guaranteed, as well as transport and return rights with full refund of the purchase price;
– payment is to be made by non-traceable means of payment (z.B. Bank transfer),
– in the correspondence you can find spelling or. Spelling mistake;
– the vehicle cannot be inspected beforehand because it is located in another country.
"So if your offer for sale has one or more of the above points, it is advisable to refrain from making any payment. Because, as soon as the fraudster has persuaded you to make a payment, you have no choice but to file a complaint, whereby the chances that you will then get back the money you have already paid are very poor," according to the advice of Julia Rufinatscha. So if your research does not lead to a certain result, you are welcome to contact the European Consumer Centre via e-mail to [email protected] or by telephone under 0471 980939 in connection put.