A growing number of online consumers are falling prey to subscription-based purchases without their consent or facing difficulties in canceling purchases due to the prevalence of deceptive web designs referred to as "dark patterns."

The tricks employed to coax consumers into parting with their money include misleading countdowns that create a spurious sense of urgency by falsely declaring that only a limited quantity of a sought-after item remains in stock. In other cases, some websites preselect a subscription option when users log in, leading to unintended financial commitments.

Elderly individuals, who are often less familiar with digital technology, tend to be a particular target for unscrupulous online retailers. These retailers manipulate them into making purchases and commitments they might otherwise avoid, blurring the line between clever marketing and outright deception.