Australia’s consumer watchdog has urged people to watch out for online shopping scams this holiday season, with scam losses rising sharply in 2020.
Losses to online shopping scams have increased 42% this year, with almost $7 million in reported losses, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Losses on classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, have increased 60% this year, to $4.5 million.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said scammers create realistic-looking fake websites that offer products at very low prices; victims then receive either a fake item or nothing at all.
Another trick scammers play is to post fake ads on classified websites, often claiming they are travelling and someone else will deliver the goods – but the item never arrives.
Ms Rickard advised consumers to beware of:
Popular products being sold at suspiciously low prices
Sellers who request payment through direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency
Fake Australia Post parcel delivery notifications that ask you to click links and input sensitive information (something Australia Post never does)