ENNISKILLEN woman, Rita Cassidy, has warned others of the perils of online shopping scams after falling victim to one herself last week.
The administrator for Enniskillen family, friends and neighbours Facebook page took to the social media site last week to describe her “horror” at learning she had been duped in to handing over £70 every other week to a fraudulent E-cigarette scheme.
Describing herself as someone who is “not easily sucked in” by online scams, Rita says she went into “panic stations” when she realised she had been conned.
“I would do a lot of shopping online,” she explained, “Due to disability I can only stand or walk for a limited period of time. So online shopping is an easy option for me.
“I had been thinking of quitting smoking for some time and came across this company through a pop-up on my computer when I was shopping online.
“I usually stick with reputable companies like Ebay and Amazon when I am shopping. I am forever warning people about these scams.”
‘No Flame’ offered Rita a ‘free trial starter kit’ with just a £4.95 charge for shipping.
“At no point was there any mention of me getting into some sort of contract,” Rita insists,
“But one of the things that did make me suspicious was that while the goods came all right from a London based address, if you wanted to try to cancel it, it was an address in the Netherlands that was provided.”
It was only when Rita decided to check the price of replacement filters for the pack that she realised she had become the victim of a scam.
“I happened to notice a complaints page and I was horrified to see there were hundreds upon hundreds of people all saying they had been caught out.
“After the initial pack, they send out filters every few weeks and draw out between £50 and £70 from your account each time,” she explained, “This was an automatic thing that I had not signed up to at all.
“I went into total panic stations.”
Rita made contact with her bank.
“They had already heard of the scam,” she said, “I was lucky that I had realised in time that it was a scam. Others have not been so lucky.
“My advice to people would be that before you even order anything online, check the company out.
“And I suppose bear in mind the rule that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”