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Are you buying online more for your Christmas shopping this year? Beware of the scams.
The Australian Retailers Association has predicted that Australians will spend over $58 billion on Pre-Christmas shopping. This is estimated to be an increase of 11% on 2019 figures. With this in mind, online retailers are trying to drive more traffic and advertisements to bid for your attention and make a sale, however, it is not only online retailers rubbing hands together. Cybercrimes have also increased heavily since the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic with many of us preferring to shop online rather than head into the shopping malls or local stores.
Google registered 2,145,013 Phishing sites as of January 17, 2021, this is a massive increase of 27% in just a 12-month period.
So, what exactly is a Phishing scam?
It is a website that is trying to gain access to private information under false pretences. This could be an email that you have been sent requesting you to enter your account information for a particular website i.e., eBay, Amazon, PayPal Etc. Alternatively, and even worse, they could pretend that your credit card details have declined so you need to enter your credit card or bank details again but on an incorrect website where the details are sent to the cybercriminals.
Cybercriminals are unfortunately actively targeting online shoppers in a bid to steal your money or personal details.
Once a cybercriminal has access to your financial details or receives your money, you are unlikely to get it back. Not only will you be disappointed when your goods don’t arrive, you will also have lost the money you used to buy the pretend items.
So, what can you do?
The best way that you can stay secure whilst shopping online is to know how to look for these suspicious websites.
- Research the site. If this is a site that you have not used before you should perform a search of the company’s name along with the word’s “scam” or “review”. Check the social media pages of the company for any complaints from previous customers. Perform a scamwatch.gov.au search for the company name.
- Be wary of online ads. A lot of scammers will pay for advertising on Google, Facebook, and Bing, so make sure you double-check any online ads especially if they are of products that you have been searching for, as they may show extremely discounted prices for a product that does not exist.
- Is the price realistic? If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers offer lower prices on hot products knowing that shoppers will find them hard to resist.
“Oh No, I have fallen for a scam what do I do now?”
- Contact your bank immediately. Let them know what has happened so that they can take the relevant precautions to stop any further transactions and to try and reverse any fraudulent payments.
- Report the scam to ACCC via the scamwatch.org.au/report-a-scam website.
- Report to the Australian Cyber Security Centre via their website cyber.gov.au/acsc/report
- Tell people. A lot of people are scared and even embarrassed that they have fallen for a scam but don’t be. It is happening to thousands of people around the world on a daily basis. If you can tell one person to be careful of a particular site or of a dodgy email that is doing the rounds, this can stop another fraudulent transaction from occurring.