Major Irish cycling retailer Cycle SuperStore has warned its customers of a sophisticated scam replicating a genuine competition.
Scammers pretending to be Cycle SuperStore have contacted customers to say they have won the competition and offer a link to a website imitating the retailer's own page, where they are asked to provide personal information, including credit card details.
Cycle SuperStore took to social media to warn customers: "This is not us, we will never ask anyone for personal details. Please ignore if they contact you."
Hijacking the competition — which offers prizes of cycling shoes worth €199, a €47.99 base layer and €40 Zefal hamper to the winners — the scammers sent out messages with a link to the fake site (seen below).
Once there, a welcome page congratulates "a lucky person who received a gift from us" before asking for credit card details to verify their details. The rest of the website is largely empty, except for a genuine business address lifted from Cycle SuperStore.
Writing on social media, Cycle SuperStore said: "It has been brought to our attention that there is someone pretending to be us. They are contacting people to tell them they have won the competition and to click on the link below to fill in their details and provide them with personal data.
"This is not us, we will never ask anyone for personal details. Please ignore if they contact you. Thank you to everyone who has been in contact to let us know about it."
Multiple customers replied to the post to say they had been contacted.
It is the latest instance of cycling retail online being used as a route for scammers, with multiple fake websites offering heavily-discounted bikes and parts coming to our attention last year.
In October, Shimano confirmed a website claiming to sell SPD-SL and SPD pedals at up to a 65 per cent discount was fake. The Japanese company said customers should be cautious of shimano-clearance.store, which was posing as an official Shimano website.
While even further back, in 2018, Scott said it had "faced legal issues with product piracy and fake suppliers for a long time" and had taken action against "well-organised online fake shops with a criminal intent luring consumers – they look quite authentic at first sight".
Addressing the issue of fake websites 'selling' bicycles and parts to scam customers, Trek's GB site offered four giveaways that a website may not be genuine:
The deal is too good to be true
If an advertisement is telling you that the bike you want is now 70-90 per cent off, they are lying to you. Do not click on the ad. Do not give them your money or any personal information.
The contact information is suspicious
Trek and our retailers hold ourselves to a very high standard of customer service. If you cannot reach the person you are buying from, do not buy from them.
The site is relatively new
You can check to see how long a website has existed by entering it into archive.org. If the site is brand new and offering steep discounts, do not purchase anything from them.
The site does not ask you to pick a preferred retailer
All current model Trek bikes ordered online must be delivered to an authorised Trek retailer for assembly. If you are not asked to select a retailer to dispatch a bike to, do not buy from the site. Previous model year Trek bikes can be delivered directly to consumers, but only through an authorised retailer's website or BikeExchange.com.
Websites such as ScamDoc.com can also be used to assess the reliability of a website before making a purchase or detect fraudulent emails.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.