Shoppers can’t resist a sale. This desire for instant gratification allows swindlers to exploit unsuspecting customers. By creating imitation websites that resemble well-known brands and products at unbelievably low prices, they can persuade shoppers to spend their hard-earned money.
If they can evade capture, online fraudsters could make a lot of money. But if caught, they could face years of jail time and fines.
Luring buyers with fake websites and sales
In 2022, a popular retailer known for its playful and comfortable socks had a major imposter website issue. There were over 9,000 cases of customers who landed on a website that was impersonating their brand. The imposter sites would be identical to the real thing, except that they offer shoppers flash sales and big discounts.
Instead of delivering the promised product, scammers will ship out a fake or defective item, or in some cases, none at all. But it doesn’t stop there. The scammer also now has the customer’s personal information, which could be used for other criminal activities.
Consequences of operating a fake website
Operating an imposter website to scam customers could potentially break multiple laws. In Georgia, using a website to impersonate a business and deceive a person into giving up their personal information is illegal.
If convicted, individuals found operating fake websites could face imprisonment of up to 20 years and fines of up to $500,000 or both. In addition to these penalties, they may also face other criminal charges if they were engaged in other illegal activities alongside operating an imposter website.
The penalties for scamming online shoppers are grave. The outcome of a criminal court case can be life-changing; someone facing these charges will need a strong defense and an attorney who understands the system.