‘I’ve been done over’: More Aussies caught by barbecue scam sites

More websites spruiking too-good-to-be-true deals on barbecues, outboard motors and outdoor furniture have been shuttered, months after two Latvians were accused of running a sophisticated scam network.

Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group are investigating possible links between more than two dozen websites the pair, 27-year-old Nastasija Sveinika and 25-year-old Aleksandrs Gorikijis, was allegedly behind and three new sites shut down after catching more Australians out in recent weeks.

Ms Sveinika and Mr Gorikijis have been charged with 74 fraud-related offences.

Kerry Satchwell thought she was saving a few hundred dollars on a Weber barbecue she bought her son for his birthday.

Instead, when the 59-year-old logged on last week to find the website had disappeared, shut down by Queensland police, she realised she had been scammed out of $361.

“I sort of prided myself in being very diligent about this sort of thing but my goodness they were professional,” she said.

"Everything just went along so beautifully in terms of feedback and it had a very slick site that replicated legitimate sites.

“So yes, for the first time in my internet history I’ve been done over.”

The former West Australian, now living in Darwin, said she did not have much hope of getting her money back but had spoken out in the hopes of stopping other people falling victim to the same trap.

“You know that old saying, if it’s too good to be true then it is too good to be true,” she said.

“Alarm bells should have rung.”

Cyber and Identity Crime Unit police recently shut down three scam sites, www.barbecuecity.com.au, www.gardenoutdoorsales.com.au and www.topmarineoutboard.com.au.

It is understood police do not believe the Latvian pair is directly behind the new sites, but police are investigating whether the new sites are linked to 27 separate sites that allegedly scammed more than 200 people across Australia out of a quarter of a million dollars.

Anyone who fell victim to them should report the incident online at the ACORN cyber-reporting portal.

Detective Acting Inspector Brad Hallett said police had received complaints through ACORN and in person, but would not reveal how many people had been scammed by the new websites.

“If it’s too good to be true, don’t do it, or at least analyse it closely,” he said.

“The websites appeared very legitimate.”


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