The online ‘grinches’ stealing Christmas: ACCC warns of online shopping scams

Nov 24, 2021
Scammers are targeting online shoppers as Christmas shopping rush approaches. Source: Getty Images

As the festive season fast approaches, we’ve been warned to watch out for the online Grinches who are out in force to ruin our Christmases. Scammers are offering “dodgy deals” to online shoppers rushing to organise their Christmas shopping in time, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC reports that Aussies have already lost about $12.9 million to online shopping scams this year, with Scamwatch receiving over 26,000 reports of e-shopping scams as people adapted to online shopping during the pandemic.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said scammers often play on the rush that comes from trying to get gifts organised during the Christmas season.

“This is a very busy time of year, and scammers often try to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers rushing to organise gifts,” she said.

“People are often searching for the best deals online, especially in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, so it’s easy to be caught off guard and fall for a scam.”

In an effort to trick unsuspecting consumers, scammers often create realistic looking fake online stores selling items at heavily discounted prices to lure customers.

“Before you buy, it’s important to be aware of the possibility of scams. While some scammers try to make online stores look legitimate by requesting payment via PayPal or credit card, always double-check that the real PayPal platform is being used. Be suspicious of too good to be true offers and any sellers that ask you to pay by bank transfer, gift cards or cryptocurrency,” she said.

People who think they have been scammed should contact their bank or financial institution immediately.

Do you know how to spot a scam?

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