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Fraudulent jewellery websites used for scamming have been exposed and shut down.
Fraudulent jewellery websites used for scamming have been exposed and shut down.

Scam jewellery websites shut down

More than 100 fraudulent websites were recently closed by US authorities, and it appears that a number of shonky Australian websites selling fake jewellery and watches have also vanished. 
A joint operation between the US Government and European police has shut down 132 fraudulent websites purportedly selling high-end jewellery and other branded goods. 

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced last week that its Project Transatlantic operation seized 132 fraudulent websites on "Cyber Monday", the Monday following Thanksgiving in the US – a popular date on the online community’s calendar. 

Seized domain names were registered in the US, Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the UK. It's unclear whether Australian internet sellers were caught in the US action, but at least one wesbite has recently "vanished". 

This year's "Cyber Monday" online sales event was estimated to have generated at least $US1.62 billion, highlighting the opportunity for seasonal shoppers to be duped by online criminals.

US government officials warned consumers around the world about the dangers of shopping online from bogus sites, especially ahead of Christmas. 

Many marketing companies persuade shoppers to go online at this time of year and the fraudulent sites hope to capitalise on the increased amount of online traffic. They believe shoppers will be too busy in the lead-up to the festive season to check every site’s credentials.

Online fraudsters operate in either one of two ways: the first is by not having any of the stock that appears on the website. They con people into paying for goods upfront but nothing is ever delivered.

The second way is by selling counterfeit product, often referred to as “replicas”, which they hope legitimises their poor quality counterfeits in the eyes of consumers.

Australian watch and jewellery websites
While the internet allows scam online sellers to operate from anywhere in the world, Jeweller has exposed a number of shonky websites operating in Australia. 

In 2010 Jeweller reported on a website selling fake watches, which was happily trading under the guise of selling “replicas”, not counterfeits. The website, offered fake Tag Heuer, Breitling, Omega and Rolex watches and originally operated from Melbourne, however, it appears to have shut down although posts on about the website indicate that people were still complaining about the operation as recently as August.

Other forums like and also have many comments about the website. One person wrote, “Swiss Replica Watches are the worst company I have ever dealt with”, while another posted “Buyer beware!!! Do not use this website, you will never get your money back.”

When Jeweller first exposed, it caused a Sydney-based watchmaker to call the business and ask, “If you are happy to sell replica watches, will you be happy if I pay you with my replica money?”

Another cultprit Jeweller exposed was It, too, appears to have vanished into the ether. It was selling knock-offs of Tiffany and Gucci jewellery, among other lines.

Advise consumers
Bricks and mortar jewellery retailers should relay these types of warnings (and their associated risks) to consumers who are heard to complain, “I can buy the same thing cheaper online”.

Australian authorities advise consumers to conduct their own due diligence when shopping via the web and check the bona fides of any online site selling items that often appear “too good to be true”. There are also a number of forums, blogs and consumer websites that contain information about suspect and fraudulent sites. 

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