By Oonagh Reidy
There are a slew of fake online retailers posing as genuine web stores, with .com.au domain names and stolen logos of well known brands including Pandora jewellery, Nike and Weber – fooling shoppers into thinking the online store is legit.
That’s according to Australia’s consumer watchdog the ACCC who has issued a stark warning about online scammers rorting consumers, revealing there have been 1,000 reports of internet shopping scams already this year.
Internet shopping scams have jumped a shocking 120 per cent since 2014.
Australians have lost $150,000 to fake stores so far in 2017, but surprisingly, the majority of victims were tech savvy millennials aged 18-24.
“Australians love shopping online and scammers take advantage of this by setting up fake websites that look like genuine online stores,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Including professional-looking design, stolen logos, and even a ‘.com.au’ domain name and/or stolen ABNs.”
However, the biggest giveaway is the method of payment. If you are asked for payments via money order, pre-loaded money card, wire transfer and even retailer gift cards, then you need to start asking questions.
“If you make a payment this way to a scammer, you’re highly unlikely to see that money again,” Rickard added.
Doing a Google search on the website you’re thinking of buying a product from and checking out the reviews is also a good way to avoid being scammed.
However, the problem is often that by the time these fake stores have been discovered, they are taken offline and re-emerge under another alias.