The ECC Network has launched some new advice for safer shopping in these uncertain times.
ECC-Net 8 Basic Tips for Safer Online Shopping around the Coronavirus:
- rely on official channels of information about the availability, if any, of medical products which prevent or cure the coronavirus
- watch out for fake domains which may look legitimate to trick you
- look for the seller information e.g. contact details, and for reliable consumer reviews about the seller
- read the information about delivery on the trader’s website and keep in mind that delivery in this period may take longer due to the various border restrictions
- read the terms and conditions well to avoid falling a victim to a subscription trap e.g. when subscribing to online fitness or language classes
- be cautious before entering your personal details for no specific reason to obtain information about a product or a service;
- follow the instructions of how to use a product properly and make a patch test, if possible e.g. hair dye products
- if unsatisfied with the product, remember that in principle, you have the right to withdrawal and you can return the good within 14 days
Coronavirus is new and we have had to make huge changes to our daily lives so it's to be expected that we're all feeling quite vulnerable now. Our advice for staying one step ahead of the scammers can be found below:
- always look for the padlock symbol when visiting a website
- when clicking on a link in an email or text message, look at the website it is sending you to - if the website doesn't match the organisation that the message supposedly came from, it's likely to be fake
- if you are asked to pay for goods or services via bank or money transfer services only, then this should be a red flag. These methods of payment are legitimate, but legitimate companies will usually give other payment options too
- be wary of bad spelling and grammar - official sources of information are likely to have correct spelling and grammar as they are not rushed and are checked before sending.
What we are Doing
The UK European Consumer Centre has no powers to take action against the scammers. That doesn't mean we can't help - in fact, the information on our database informs the relevant organisations of changing consumer behaviour.
The more enquiries we receive, the more we can feed back to enforcement bodies that do have the authority to take action. These bodies often do not have public-facing services so are reliant on the information provided by organisations such as ours.
Put simply, your enquiry to us will never be a waste of time - you can be assured that the information you provide us will go on to inform changes in law and enforcement of criminal behaviour.