Increasing number of reports about fake firewood sales

Increasing number of reports about fake firewood sales
Credit: Maria Ilaria Piras/Pexels

Financial insecurity, turbulent energy prices, and consumer panic over the winter period have made alternative fuel sources, such as wood burning, more popular in recent months. But with the peak in interest, comes a peak in scams.

This has resulted in the FPS Economy receiving 126 reports about these fake timber stores about the fake sale of wood online since 1 July, according to a government press release.

Scammers, capitalising on high energy prices and a surge in interest in using wood as an alternative, are creating fake online stores to sell logs and timber.

Consumers who order from these sites will reportedly receive nothing at all, while the vendors will run off with the customer’s money. Victims are scammed for an average of €750, but one admitted to having paid as much as €2,972.

The Economic Inspectorate of the FPS Economy is analysing these reports and will soon decide whether to launch an official investigation. The fraudsters risk a prison sentence from between one month to five years, or fines of up to €24,000.

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Construction timber and some types of wood are in short supply at the moment. As a result, prices are high, and so is demand. The fake websites advertise different wood products, such as wood pellet, firewood, pallets, and others at cut-rate prices. But these prices are too good to be true, they are a scam.

To avoid online scams, FPS Economy has created a website where Belgians can find advice for buying online safely. The site regularly unmasks fraudulent websites and offers advice to online shoppers.

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