Top Christmas scams to watch out for this month

There are some common Christmas scams to watch out for. Source: Getty.

The Australian community has been warned to watch out for three common scams this Christmas – and they’re very easy to fall for.

According to The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), scammers could try to “ruin” people’s festive holidays by targeting them online and even through the post.

But what can you do to avoid it?

“Scammers often try to take advantage of people during the busy Christmas period and prey on our vulnerabilities at this time of year,” the ACCC warned in a statement.

“For example, they may take advantage of you looking for a good deal on a family holiday, searching for a loved one’s present at an online store, or even that you’re expecting a present from someone through the post.”

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Firstly, if you’re offered a suspicious travel deal, it may not be all it seems. People are warned to be wary if they’re told they’ve won a travel prize or got a great deal on a travel package, such as a cruise.

Read more: Know the difference between a salesperson and a scammer

In the past 12 months, nearly $86,000 has been lost to this scam, with about 1750 reports, so it’s worth triple checking deals and being careful opening emails from an address you don’t trust.

Meanwhile, fake online shopping sites are being set up to target people and cheat them out of cash.

“They entice people with legitimate looking discounts and may even advertise items as the perfect Christmas present for a loved one, the ACCC warns – and that could be through a believable-looking site, or even auction listings.

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This has cost Australians more than $1.3 million in the past year with more than 6440 reports.

Finally, it’s not just online, as some people are being scammed through the post too, often being sent fake ‘missed delivery’ notices.

Read more: How to spot a fake online shop

The ACCC explained: “These scams are aimed at getting people to download malware or ransomware onto their PCs, which can be costly to remove; or steal their personal information.”

Scamwatch has received around 1700 reports of this in just a year.

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There are a few ways to try to avoid falling victim to scammers however, and Deputy Chair of the Commission Delia Rickard says it’s important to always do your research first before using a new online store.

“Never do a deal or make a payment outside the online auction site you are using,” she added.

“If you are buying from a classified website only hand over the money when you have physically inspected the goods. Finally, never open attachments or download files you receive out of the blue—no matter who the email comes from or how legitimate it looks.”

Have you fallen victim to a scam in the past? Are you more wary while shopping online or receiving post around Christmas time?