I’m petrified about getting scammed out of my hard-earned money. I know it can happen so easily and those scammers are very convincing. And it seems to get worse during the festive season, where we tend to spend more and are always on the lookout for a bargain. But beware, do not get caught out by these scary online shopping scams.
Losses to online shopping scams have increased 42 per cent this year, and Scamwatch is warning Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season.
Millions Lost Due To Online Shopping Scams
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 classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, have increased by 60 per cent this year, to $4.5 million.
Pets Top The List Of Scariest Online Shopping Scams
Reports of online shopping scams involving consumer goods, such as shoes, phones, computers and toys, continue to be high. But the most common thing people were trying to buy when they were scammed was puppies and other pets.
People aged 24 and under reported the highest number of scams involving phones and computers.
Too Good To Be True!
“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.”
Fake Delivery Notifications
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 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.”
Most financial institutions offer a charge-back service for credit cards and will dispute a credit transaction with the merchant if they still exist.
Top ten products for online shopping and classified scams
More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.
Have you ever been a victim of online shopping scams? Tell us in the comments below.