According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Scamwatch, Australians have lost more money to online shopping scams this year (to-date) than in the entire previous year.
“Scammers often try to take advantage of people doing their Christmas shopping including in the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales”, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Warning signs for online shopping scams include extremely low advertised prices and requests to pay through direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency”.
Ms Rickard adds that, “some of the most commonly reported products that scammers are attempting to sell this year are shoes, smartphones and tickets to events, with losses from these items so far exceeding half a million dollars”.
Watch out for these common online shopping scams:
Fake websites / online retail stores
The scammer creates a fake online store, as a website or on social media, which looks just like a genuine store. Many fake websites offer luxury items at very low prices. However, your order would likely comprise a fake item or you may receive nothing at all. The scammer may even try to direct you to the fake website by emailing you about an amazing bargain and including a link to the fake site. As with all phishing scams, the scammer aims to gain your trust so they can obtain your personal and/or credit card details.
Scammers can pose as genuine sellers on classifieds websites. Once you have paid, the scammer may claim that they are travelling and their agent will deliver the goods. However, you won’t receive the goods or be able to contact the seller.
Please keep in mind that:
- If a deal looks too good to be true – it probably is.
- If you receive any unexpected emails or emails that ask for something unusual, be suspicious.
- If the language used on the website, email or social media post does not look or sound right, do not trust it.
Consumers are urged to watch out for fake online stores, keep their personal information safe, pay securely online and consider the safety of tech gifts this holiday season.
If you believe someone has gained access to your personal information, even if the scam appears unrelated to your finances, you should contact your bank immediately. A timely response can be critical in giving you the best chance to stem any loss.
- If you have concerns about your G&C Mutual Bank account contact us on 1300 364 400
- If you have been the victim of identity theft, IDCARE can guide you through the steps to reclaim your identity. Contact them on 1300 432 273 or via https://www.idcare.org
- You can find out how scams work, how to protect yourself, what to do if you’ve been scammed or report a scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au