The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning online shoppers to be wary of scammers masquerading as legitimate online retailers, often selling well-known brands at too-good-to-be-true prices.
Already in 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch service has received more than 1000 reports of online shopping scams worth more than AU$150,000 in total.
Younger Australians in the 18 to 24 age bracket made up the biggest group of people who reported losing money to online shopping scammers. Worryingly, Scamwatch’s statistics also show nearly one in every two people reporting the scam lost money.
“Australians love shopping online and scammers take advantage of this by setting up fake websites that look like genuine online stores, including professional-looking design, stolen logos, and even a ‘.com.au’ domain name and/or stolen ABNs,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“The biggest tip-off is the method of payment: scammers will often ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded money card, or wire transfer, even gift cards from well-known retailers. If you make a payment this way to a scammer, you’re highly unlikely to see that money again,” Ms Rickard said.