Police have received more than 500 reports from people who have been scammed while trying to order firewood online. Criminals are taking advantage of the energy crisis and people are looking for alternatives to heat their homes, police said. NOS.
“Criminals follow the seasons and react to current events. In the summer, they try to sell barbecue. Gijs van der Linden of the Police’s Online Fraud Reporting Center told the station.
There are already over 60 rogue online shops claiming to sell lumber but never delivering. Some are very easy to recognize, according to Van der Linden. “Some sites are terribly poorly translated and feature forests that don’t exist,” he said. “Those kinds of words alone should get consumers to pay attention.”
Other fake shops are more subtle. For example, some existing companies sell real firewood but don’t have a website. Criminals then set up a credible fake store posing as the company. Police crack down on these shops as soon as they find them.
Police have also noticed an overall increase in reports of fake online shops. In 2020, there were approximately 6,400 reports. Last year he had over 13,000 reports and this year so far he has had 8,300 reports. The average loss per victim increased from €150 for him last year to €330 for him in the first half of this year.
https://nltimes.nl/2022/09/27/firewood-scams-rise-amidst-energy-crisis Firewood fraud on the rise amid energy crisis