Fraud watch: be careful purchasing non-existent ‘phantom’ products


Consumers are being alerted not to obtain captured out by so-called ‘phantom products’ rip-offs, which are costing victims approximately ₤ 1,100 a time.

People Advice has reported a 17% boost in the variety of people reporting that they have been tricked into purchasing huge ticket products online– consisting of vehicles and flights– that do not in fact exist.

The charity likewise declares that this is the kind of fraud that customers are probably to lose money from, with 96% losing money, compared with 55% throughout all other rip-off types consisting of financial investment frauds and phony doorstep sales.

Phantom scammers usually use social networks websites, such as Facebook and Instagram, in addition to online markets such as eBay and Gumtree. Phony evaluations are published to make the scammers appear like genuine traders.

Vehicles, flights and furniture are the most popular phantom products to be flogged but scammers will try and offer anything from musical instruments to electronic cameras and jewelry.

People Advice mentions one example of a lady that paid ₤ 5,000 for a home boat on eBay. She exchanged e-mails with the ‘seller’ and was sent out to a phony Paypal connect to spend for the ‘phantom’ boat. To this day, she has not had the ability to get her ₤ 5,000 back.

Discussing the risk, Gillian Guy, president at Citizens Advice states: “With a lot of people going shopping online to compare offers, fraudsters are using various methods to target people with phantom items. They are drawing people in with cut-price offers and after that encouraging people to purchase products with phoney suggestions from consumers.

” It’s crucial that people do not hurry into purchasing a product when they find a deal, but spend some time to make sure it’s authentic initially.

Report the rip-off

The Citizen’s Advice research marks the start of Scam Awareness Month, which starts tomorrow. This is a joint project in between the charity and Trading Standards which advises people to discuss frauds and report them if they feel victim.

In 2016, National Trading Standards suspended 140 sites and 500 Twitter accounts that were connected to scammers in action that resulted in numerous arrests. Nevertheless, the authorities still need people to report rip-offs.

Ms Guy includes: “Reporting rip-offs assists the authorities to do something about it versus scammers and permits people to obtain guidance on methods to try and get their cash back.”

This can be done by getting in touch with Action Fraud at or 0300 123 2040.