'Tis the season for online shopping scams, so here is the latest advice from Scamwatch to help you shop online safely.

 

Losses due to online shopping scams have increased 42 percent this year, and Scamwatch is warning Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season. Scamwatch has received over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams so far this year, with almost $7 million in reported losses.

“More people have been shopping online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and scammers are now targeting people doing their Christmas shopping, including in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Scammers create fake websites that look like genuine online stores, offering products at very low prices and victims will either receive a fake item or nothing at all.”

“They also post fake ads on classified websites, often claiming they are travelling and someone else will deliver the goods, but the item never arrives, and the victim can no longer contact the seller.”

Losses on classifieds websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, have increased by 60 percent this year to $4.5 million. Reports of online shopping scams involving consumer goods, such as shoes, phones, computers and toys, continue to be high. However, the most common items that people were attempting to purchase online when they were scammed were puppies and other pets. The highest number of scams involving phones and computers was reported by people aged 24 and under.

“Watch out for popular products being sold at prices much lower than on other websites, and sellers requesting payment through direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency,” Ms Rickard said.

“Take the time to consider who you are dealing with and don’t be pressured by special offers.”

“Do your research by checking independent reviews of online stores or the seller’s history on classifieds websites.”

Another scam to note involves fake parcel delivery notifications via text message or email.

“Australia Post will never ask you to click a link to enter your personal details, nor will they ask for credit card details or a fee to deliver your packages,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible and contact the platform on which you were scammed to inform them of the circumstances.”

At G&C Mutual Bank, our members are our priority. Our Security page provides information and tips designed to help keep you and your money safe.

Need help?

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 scamwatch.gov.au.