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Bait and switch scams online – What is? How it work?

Ever seen a little ad appear on your screen promising a must-have gadget or other elusive prizes at an unheard of price? The fear of missing out swarms your mind and ultimately, you grab hold of your mouse and click the advert. However, that is where the fun stops. Unfortunately, you notice that the advert doesn’t lead to a site with amazing prices but instead starts an automatic download in your browser. Welcome to the dark side of the web.

What Is A Bait And Switch Scam?

It is typically defined as a company attempting to attract consumers by displaying an under-priced highly desirable item, but when consumers attempt to purchase it, they discover that the item is not for sale. Instead, the consumers are confronted with much more costly items when they get through to the adverts intended website. Some of you may be wondering if bait and switching is illegal?

It is important to note that a bait-and-switch is always illegal and does constitute an example of fraudulent activity and the intentional manipulation of consumers.

How The Scam Works

A company will choose a product that is known for its high quality and relatively high market appeal; they will then slash the price. Therefore, an item that should cost $400 will now only cost $50 or $75 or possibly even less. Obviously, this is a ridiculous price that probably barely even covers the companies expense for the product, but many people do attempt to procure the item.

Once on the site, the consumer is usually placed in one of the following situations, the first states that while the item in the advert is SOLD OUT, there are others available for double the price. To make matters worse, it is often the case that the secondary product that is being offered is of poorer quality, and is more expensive.

Another situation that a customer could find themselves in with a bait and switch advertisement is that the product that was featured is still up for sale but not at the originally described price. A further alternative is that the product, such as a cell phone, is indeed up for sale but is not the exact model promoted. For example, the latest iPhone could have been shown for $75, but instead, a very old Samsung or Nokia is shown for that price.

Bait And Switch Scams Online

Bait and switch scams are in existence both within physical stores and within the online world, however, in the realm of the internet, there are additional causes of concern. For example, a bait and switch advertisement could result in your personal data being stolen or having some form of malware attack conducted against your laptop.

How To Avoid Bait And Switch Scams

There are several ways to avoid bait and switch scams, the most important of which is always common sense – look guys if it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. If you are on the internet, then using readily available tools such as adblockers and anti-malware software could also save you a ton of trouble. Furthermore, if you are considering making the purchase regardless of all the signs, then do read through the terms and conditions, as well as the returns policy of the site. If you can’t find it listed, then that is a major red flag.

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Now that you are more aware of what bait-and-switch scams are and how not to fall prey to bait and switch advertisements, you can go about the internet and all advertisements with a renewed sense of confidence. Have you ever fallen prey to a bait-and-switch scam? What is your advice on how to avoid them?