Electric Bike Scams: How They Work
Electric bikes (e-bikes) have become a phenomenon in the public transportation sector, especially since the pandemic started. As their popularity in the market continues to increase, so are the people rushing to the stores to get a new unit. Unfortunately, this is also the time when scammers go on the prowl for unsuspecting buyers. As such, you should be on high alert when buying an e-bike, whether from a brick-and-mortar store or online.
Before you close the deal, be sure to watch out for the following common electric bike scams.
1. Very Low Price
One of the go-to lures that scammers use on naive buyers is extremely low prices. This mainly happens on online purchases, which make the bulk of transactions today. You might have come across online ads that link you to sites selling merchandise at unbelievably low prices, which for many people, is a deal that is too sweet not to take.
When it comes to electric bikes, the extra budget models on the retail market range from $200-$300, so, if you come across anything selling for less than $200 – mainly if the package includes the battery – this is a red flag that you should be wary of. Typically, the shady websites will use a “promotional price” tag to justify the low price, but it’s just a ploy to defraud the little cash you have. One example of a shady website is Yuwicw.top, which has bikes for sale for $20!
Before you rush to make your order, some due diligence is warranted. Try to confirm that there’s an actual business behind the website and search for the model of the e-bike to see if it exists on other retailers’ sites. Use the contact information provided on the site and try to give them a call. If there is no answer from the other end, this should only raise your suspicion. The same goes for emails that go unanswered for days.
In case you find any missing links in the course of your research, that should be your cue to forget about that purchase.
2. Bogus Facebook Ads
Another way that people fall prey to e-bike fraudsters is through Facebook ds. This is a prevalent scam, considering the vast number of users of the biggest social media platform. Usually, an ad pops out of nowhere with an enticing offer. The swindlers invest a bit on the front end to create impressive advertisements that will have you eating from their hands.
The worst thing you can do, in such a case, is to click on the ad. This is because when you tap on it, the next thing that comes up is two options; whether you’ll pay through debit/credit card or PayPal. As soon as you select and use your choice, your goose is cooked because your money is never coming back, and you’re not getting any electric bike.
In many cases, the ad will disappear later in the day. For instance, if you made the transaction in the morning, chances are you won’t see that advert again when you log into your account in the evening. If you manage to get the retailer’s contacts and try to follow up on the phone, what follows will be a wild goose chase.
It’s so unfortunate that Facebook allows these fraudulent ads in the first place because so many unsuspecting buyers have fallen victim to the same trick. So, the next time you see an enticing ad on Facebook selling a nicely-made e-bike, why not scroll to the next story?
3. Test Ride Scam
This last scam affects e-bike retailers as opposed to shoppers. It involves test rides and happens right under the retailer’s nose. Typically, a prospective buyer walks into an electric bike shop and expresses interest in a model on display.
When it comes to the test ride, the fraudster will pretend to be trying out the bike and go AWOL, not to be seen again. Usually, the con will use cloned IDs and bank cards to prove their legitimacy. However, this will become evident when the retailer decides to verify the information. Unfortunately, it is often too little too late.
How to Avoid E-bike Scams
To avoid being a culprit to scammers, you can take a couple of measures before making the purchase. The first thing is to consider the nature of the deal. If it’s too good to be true, you always want to think twice! For instance, if you see a site offering 70-90% off on an e-bike, steer clear of it.
Secondly, scrutinize the contact information and check whether it’s legitimate. If you cannot reach customer service through all the provided channels, that is a red flag. Don’t buy from them if you can’t communicate with them.
Furthermore, if the site you want to buy from is too new and offering customers steep discounts, you’re about to be swindled! You can verify how long a site has been around by entering it into our website validator.
Something else that should alert your suspicion is when the site doesn’t ask you to choose a preferred retailer when trying to make an order. This is because most electric bikes sold online are usually shipped to the buyer through an authorized retailer.
Finally, you can also check the site’s authenticity by going through reviews to see what past customers say. If there are no reviews at all online, then this might be a bad omen. You can learn a lot about a site, judging by the reviews on electric-biking.com.
The electric biking bandwagon keeps growing, and many enthusiasts are looking to join it! Unfortunately, herein lies the risk of succumbing to the common pitfalls of uninformed buying. With so many swindlers lurking on the internet, you don’t want to be the latest in the long line of e-bike scam victims!
Electric Bike Scams: How To Report
Let your family and friends know about these electric bike shopping tips by sharing this article. You can also officially report suspicious sites to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the link below:
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