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Aussies Warned Of Rampant Online Shopping Scams

ACCC-run website Scamwatch is warning Australians to be cautious of online shopping scams in the lead up to the holiday season, as figures show that we have already lost more money to these scams this year than in the entire of 2018.

So far in 2019, reported losses from online shopping scams are over $4 million, well in excess of the 2018 total figure of $3.28 million.

“Scammers often try to take advantage of people doing their Christmas shopping including in the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” said Delia Rickard, ACCC deputy chair.

“Reported losses have tripled over the last three years and it is concerning that losses from this year are already so high.”

According to Scamwatch, these are the common online scams to look out for:

  • Fake websites/stores: scammers will set up fake online stores, on websites or social media, which can look like genuine online retailers. Many of these offer luxury items at very low prices, but you may receive a fake item or nothing at all.
  • Fake sellers: scammers may pose as genuine sellers on classifieds websites. The scammer may claim they are travelling, and an agent will deliver the goods once you have paid, but you won’t receive the goods and will be unable to contact the seller.

“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,” Rickard said.

“Warning signs for online shopping scams include extremely low advertised prices and requests to pay through direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency.”

“We encourage everyone to do their research before making an online purchase and if purchasing expensive goods, not to make payment until they have inspected the product.”

Rickard also encourages Aussies to spread this news to all their loved ones over the holiday period, as this will help protect vulnerable customers and give them a heads up of what’s happening out there.

“Many people enjoy the convenience of online shopping, but it is important to remember that there can be risks involved,” Rickard added.

“If you do think you have been scammed, contact your bank as soon as possible.”

For further information about scams, visit the Scamwatch website. You may also subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts here to get up-to-date warnings.

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