A former employee of a tech company that sells products online has warned that a tactic used to trick potential customers into buying a product without paying for it can be a “fraud”.
The warning comes as consumers increasingly feel they are being scammed online.
The tactic involves tricking potential customers by pretending to be a product specialist when in reality they are simply a salesperson.
Dr Alan Gee of the Australian Centre for Business Innovation told Fox Sports that the tactic can be used by companies to lure potential customers who might be tempted to pay for a product by claiming they have a specialist level understanding of it.
“The customer is often taken on a journey with the product and they are told that they have to take a test, they have an appointment, but then they actually have to spend time on a website with the salesperson who is selling the product, and then they have the test taken,” he said.
“So, they get this test and then this person comes and says, ‘You’ll get this, you’ll get that’.
And they go, ‘Oh, that’s for me.
It’s for you’.” Dr Gee said the scammer would then claim to have a specific expertise on the product.
“They would use this person as a proxy to get into the buyer’s mind,” he explained.
“And then the person who sold the product would say, ‘This is for you, this is for me’.
And that person would be the sales person, and that person is going to make sure that you buy that product.”
The company behind the scam is known as Fidgets.
A company spokesperson told Fox the company uses a variety of different techniques to sell its products, including email marketing, online surveys and social media promotions.
“Fidgets uses a range of strategies to reach its customers including: emails, social media, targeted ads, direct mail, telephone calls and text messaging,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the company has been “working hard” to ensure that its products are safe.
The scammer told Fox that a key factor in persuading a potential customer to pay more for a company’s product was “being very direct and clear with the customer”.
“They can then be persuaded to go for the product,” Dr Goe said.
He said that the scam can work in the same way as buying a drink online.
“If you buy a product and you’re very clear and direct and say, that you have this knowledge, then the customer will go for that product,” he added.
“There’s no question that the customer may have gone through the experience and said, ‘I can’t do that.'”
In a statement, Fidbits said the company had been working with a number of law enforcement agencies to identify the individuals responsible for the “failing scam”.