Watch out for holiday online shopping scams this Christmas season
Scamwatch warns Australians to be careful when buying gifts during the holiday season as losses to holiday online shopping scams increase up to 42% this year.
The Government-run website has received over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams with almost $7 million in reported losses as more people shop online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Scammers would often target those who do their Christmas shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
“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 traveling and someone else will deliver the goods, but the item never arrives and the victim can no longer contact the seller.,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Losses on classified websites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree have increased by 60 per cent this year. These losses are estimated to be up to $4.5 million.
Reports of online shopping scams involving consumer goods continue to increase. People aged 24 and under are reported to experience the highest number of scams involving phones and computers.
“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. 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,” Deputy Chair Rickard advised.
Fake parcel delivery notifications sent through text message or email are also scams that consumers should be aware of.
“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. 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,” Deputy Chair Rickard said.
Most financial institutions offer a chargeback service for credit cards and will dispute a credit transaction with the merchant if they still exist.