26 September 2023

Holiday season prompts scam warnings

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season.

Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard said shopping scams had increased 42 per cent with Scamwatch receiving 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,” Ms 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,” she said.

“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.”

Ms Rickard said losses on classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, increased by 60 per cent 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,” she said.

“Take the time to consider who you are dealing with and don’t be pressured by special offers.”

She said people should do their research by checking reviews of online stores or the seller’s history on classified websites.

Ms Rickard said people should also be aware of 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,” she said.

Ms Rickard said people who had been scammed should contact their bank as soon as possible as well as the platform on which they were scammed.

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