By Juliano Oliveira
The Christmas shopping season is expected to wake up organisations thirsty for new financial scams.
Data released by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) points to the care that must be redoubled when shopping online.
Losses have increased by 42% this year, $7 million has been reported by consumers to the commission—besides, 12,000 reports of online shopping scams.
“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.”
Scams associated with the purchase of puppies and other pets are the most common, followed by shoes, phones, computers and toys. Losses on classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, have increased by 60% this year, to $4.5 million.
“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 classified websites.”
Another scam to be aware of if you have made recent purchases online is fake parcel delivery notifications via text message or email.
“Australia Post will never ask you to click a link to enter your 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.”