Scamwatch has moved to issue a Christmas warning after noting the damage bill from scams was up 42%, urging Christmas shoppers to be vigilant of e-commerce scams on websites and classifieds.
Scamwatch says that losses to online shopping scams have increased by 42% so far this year, after receiving more than 12,000 reports of online shopping scams, with Australians losing more than $7 million.
The ACCC’s Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard has issued a statement saying that “more people have been online shopping 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.”
This led Scamwatch to issue a christmas warning for shoppers to be vigilant of their online purchases, in light of the fact that losses from scams have increased by 42%.
The Christmas warning comes from the ACCC’s Scamwatch after noting significant increases in the number of scams targeting some interesting shopping categories, namely the sales of pets, shoes and phones.
Scamwatch says that online shopping and classifieds scams targeting pets were responsible for 2111 reports of scams, with losses of $2,050,158 reported. Scams targeting footwear came in second-place with 569 reports, and $81,502 in losses, with vehicle, phone and laptop/computer scams rounding out the top five with $808,000, $258,000 and $205,000 in respective reported losses.
|1||Pets||2111||$2 050 158|
|10||Handbags and bags||110||$55 788|
“Scammers create fake websites that look like genuine online stores, offering products at very low proxies 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.”
The ACCC says that losses on classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree have increased by more than 60% this year, with losses totalling more than $4.5 million.
The ACCC writes that “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.”
According to the figures released, those aged under 24-years-old were the most likely to fall victim to an online shopping scam, often targeting individuals looking for a cut-price deal on the latest smartphone or laptop.
Ms Rickard says it’s essential to “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.”
Another scam commonly used by fraudsters is the Australia Post scam, where an individual will receive either a text message or email purportedly from a carrier like Australia Post, TNT, FedEx or Couriers Please saying that a parcel is expected to be delivered later that day, prompting the recipient to press a potentially malicious link or attachment.
“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,” the ACCC’s Ms Rickard says. “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.”