Amateurs complain about fake online shopping with radio equipment - be careful

Hi Geektimes. About a year ago on geektimes there were publications about a network of fraudulent websites selling air tickets . Unfortunately, this problem was also affected by the amateur radio community - despite the fact that there are not so many radio amateurs in Russia. Judging by the reviews, some fraudulent sites "live" for years. The result is the same - a person transfers money and does not receive either a product or money.

Why law enforcement agencies are inactive, it is another matter, so far, alas, the rescue of the drowning, remains the work of the hands of the drowning. Continued under the cut.

Firstly, why radio amateurs? Here the answer is simple - amateur radio equipment is very expensive and piecework, and it is not sold everywhere. In addition to St. Petersburg and Moscow, there is practically no place to buy it "live", which means that all the rest have to be content with mail delivery.

An example of a real price for amateur radio SDR-transceiver in a normal online store:


As you can see, the device is not cheap. Even 1-2 such “sales” per month can provide fraudsters with quite good income.

Secondly, some of these sites are hosted by American providers in the .com zone, and it is almost impossible to “get” them there. The content of the sites provider, obviously, does not control. Why these domains are not blocked on the territory of the Russian Federation - I do not know, it seems that Roskomnadzor can only fight successfully with linkedin.

Thirdly, any student can buy the cheapest hosting and deploy an online store template, alas, such sites breed like mushrooms.

What to do

Tips are very trivial, but if at least it helps someone, then my time is not wasted.

1) Do not make impulse purchases. The desire to make a gift to yourself or to those close to you “in one click” can lead to the opposite result - you will make a gift, but not to yourself.

2) Be sure to check the reviews on the site in Google . Trite, search by text "site_name reviews" - will give a lot of information. In appearance, design, to distinguish a fraudulent store from a normal one, unfortunately, is impossible - anyone can find an online store template, and a fraudulent website can look as good as a normal one. Beautiful photos, inscriptions like “we have been working since 1995”, chat with support, feedback from “clients”, etc. - everything can look right. By the way, it’s also useless to read reviews on the site itself - they can be easily written by the owners themselves, anyway, nobody checks them.

As suggested in the comments, the domain registration date can be checked using the free whois service , and if it is very different from the one stated on the site, this is another cause for concern.

The TIN of a legal entity or individual entrepreneur can be checked on the tax website . If there is an obvious discrepancy between the data, it is better not to make a purchase.

3) Low price (10-20% below average) should cause suspicion. No one will work at a loss, and if the price of an American device is even lower than in the US, something is wrong.

4) The strange location of the store - in small towns, where there will hardly be a large store with complex and rare electronics - is not a sign of fraud, but should be alerted. Similarly to the site: the location of the Russian online store is not in the domain. Ru is also not proof of fraud, but very suspicious.

5) It’s quite convenient to use Google’s “image search” for verification. For example, go to the section "About the store", see the photo of the interior. Click on the picture right mouse button in Google Chrome, select "Search google for image". As a result, we see, for example, that the photo was taken not at all in Vologda, but in Moscow or in the Japanese office of Icom. By the way, the same method works for checking private sellers on avito - it is immediately obvious if the product photo was taken from another site.

6) And finally, the most important thing is payment methods. Direct transfer to the card, transfer to a private person, through Yandex-money to a friend, etc. - almost 100% guarantee that you will not see any money or goods. Shops do not work that way.

Edit: some people earn additionally the delivery and resale of goods from eBay or other foreign stores. They can really accept payment as an individual, but in this case, the buyer must clearly understand that he assumes all the risks.

7) Shipping. If the price still looks attractive and you really want to believe in a miracle - tell the seller that you will pick up the goods and pay in person, or a friend / acquaintance will call in. 100% probability that scammers will refuse such a deal.

8) It should be borne in mind that, according to reviews of the victims, there is practically no chance of returning money - this is only for buyers of cameras with remote controls they get things to do, it’s much harder to catch real scammers. So before you press the money transfer button, you should check it all again.


Amateur radio is a very interesting technical hobby, and it is a pity that dishonest people profit from this too.

I don’t give direct links to fake sites, anyone can search for information and reviews on the popular amateur radio sites nbgf or , they cited specific examples and reviews of the victims, just type in the search word "scammer."

All successful and safe purchases.


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