Scammers targeting Christmas sales

Online shoppers should be on high alert as scammers are looking to target consumers around the holidays.

According to Scamwatch, Australians have already lost more money to online shopping scams in 2019 than in the entire previous year.

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,” says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

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

For example, scammers will set up fake online stores which look genuine, often offering luxury items at very low prices. However, the products you receive could be fake or you may not receive anything at all.

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, adds Rickard.

“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.”