FPS Economy warns for fake webshops with wood products
In the past month, more than 100 reports of fake webshops have been received via the hotline of the FPS Economy. Fraudsters take advantage of current events to set up fake webshops selling wood products. Consumers who place an order on such webshops receive nothing.
Since 1 July, the hotline of the FPS Economy received 126 reports of fake webshops selling wood products. On average, the victims reported a loss of 750 euros, but one person reported losing up to 2,972 euros.
The fraudsters are playing on the current situation of rising energy prices and the great demand for alternative ways of heating. They are also taking advantage of the international shortage of construction timber and the huge price increases associated with it, according to the Federal Public Service. They build websites for the sale of wood products such as wood pellets, firewood or palettes.
The fraudsters lure consumers with attractive deals which they promote via social media, for example. After consumers place an order and make a payment, nothing happens. In most cases, the fraudster does not respond.
The Economic Inspectorate of the FPS Economy is currently analysing the reports received. It may decide to launch an investigation. Fraudsters risk a prison sentence of one month to five years or a fine of 208 to 24,000 euros.
On the website veiligewebshops.be (secure web shops) of the FPS Economy, consumers can find tips on how to recognise reliable web shops.
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