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Shoppers beware: 'Aussie' webstore scams rising

A man uses a laptop computer in Brisbane Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

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.

Also read: Shoppers beware: online scammers on the rise at a web store near you

“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. 

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