Earlier this year someone close and dear to me got in touch about a website they were tempted to purchase from:

  • eluxurybagsale.com

I immediately did a whois lookup and gave them a copy of the address on the record, which of course, was an address in China.

There was a high probability that any purchases from that website would result in receiving fake goods or no goods at all, especially since in 2009 the BBC covered how companies in China are selling fake goods into the UK.

You’d hope this would be enough to discourage someone from purchasing from a website without thinking twice…

Fast-forward a few months and we’re here again, only this time the purchase has gone through.

Granted, from a different website this time:

  • franklinandmarshallsale.co.uk

But at least it is a uk domain which makes things a little easier to deal with.

Identify it’s a dodgy website

The first thing to do (again) is to do a whois lookup (this time we can go directly to the UK domain registry, Nominet).

Without even visiting the website we can tell it’s obviously a fake as it’s again got an address based in China.

To concrete my suspicions I decided to check it against another couple of sites…

  • WebOfTrust – “Counterfeit goods scam from China selling copyright infringing items. Either you get some low quality junk, or they just steal your money. “
  • McAfee SiteAdvisor – We’ve tested millions of websites, but we haven’t tested this one yet.
  • Norton SafeWeb – This site has not been tested yet.

The general consensus appears to be that it’s either bad or not popular enough to have been tested yet. It doesn’t seem good.

Visiting the website for the first time I’m immediately struck by some oddities:

  • [email protected]” – their email address appears halfway down is hosted by gmail, rather than via their own domain. Why?
  • “www.franklinandmarshallsale.co.uk LTD” – at the bottom, they have put their domain name followed by “LTD”, suggesting they are a “limited company”, which they are not.
  • “fake medals and badges” – at the bottom they have a number of badges and medals which are clearly fake. One of them says “click to verify” but then has no link.

Without visiting any other pages, we can tell instantly that something’s not right. Combined with the above information I think it’s pretty safe to say that this site is “dodgy”.

How to avoid dodgy websites

If you have purchased anything from a site like this, my advice is that you report it to your bank or credit card company and cancel the order with the website asap.

Remember, as Martin Lewis always says: any purchases over £100 should be made on a credit card, otherwise you won’t be protected under section 75.

To avoid this in future, my advice is to use the safe browsing tool that proved itself above: WebOfTrust. Download and install their free browser add-on.

Reporting dodgy websites

Aside from the obvious strategy of reporting to your bank or credit card company, there are some other places you can or should report dodgy websites to.

That’s usually enough to get an investigation started and the website taken down to help prevent others from getting scammed. You should probably not bother the police with cases like this unless you’re instructed to by one of the above.