ACCC has urged shoppers to be smart when shopping during the festive season. Picture: iStock.
ACCC has urged shoppers to be smart when shopping during the festive season. Picture: iStock.

Christmas busy for shoppers, busier for scammers

DECEMBER is just around the corner and that usually signals the busiest shopping period of the year as locals ready themselves for Christmas.

Online shopping has taken off this year during COVID-19 and shapes as a popular option for gift-buying but the ACCC are warning shoppers to do their due diligence before they buy.

Scamwatch has received over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams so far this year, with almost $7 million in reported losses which is an almost 42 per cent increase in online shopping losses from last year.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said that the usual cause of this was scammers building fake websites online.

"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," Ms Rickard 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."

According to the report, young people tend to fall victim to scams over mobile phones and computers but the most popular scam overall, is 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," Ms Rickard said.

"Do your research by checking independent reviews of online stores or the seller's history on classified websites."


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