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Alarming scam becomes nearly TWICE as dangerous

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Close wife fingers holding plastic credit card on background computer.
Have you come across this scam? Image: Getty

Australians have been urged to take care when shopping online over the weekend as financial losses to shopping scams continue to increase, according to the scammer watchdog.

Scamwatch has revealed that losses from online shopping scams have increased by 42 per cent in 2020 with nearly $7 million in reported losses.

Additionally, Scamwatch has received 12,000 reports of the scam. And as Covid-19 restrictions accelerated Australian shoppers’ shift to online shopping, scammers are increasingly targeting Christmas shoppers.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales present a tempting hunting ground for online scammers, Australian Competition and Consumer Commision deputy chair Delia Rickard warned this week.

She said shoppers need to be aware that scammers will create fake websites that appear genuine and offer products at extremely low prices. However, victims will receive nothing at all, or a fake item.

“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,” Rickard said.

According to Scamwatch, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree have seen a 60 per cent increase in losses from classified scams, taking it to $4.5 million.

Shoppers frequently fall for phones, computers, toys and shoe scams. However, the most common shopping scam involves the sale of puppies and pets.

“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,” 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.”

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