Holiday Season Shopping Scams!

Holiday Season Shopping Scams

It’s nearing Christmas and you’re searching online for a good deal to ease the cost of present shopping.

As you search the endless amounts of shopping promotions, you become overwhelmed by the number of high-end brands all showing dramatically different prices. 

Eventually, you pick a website that offers luxury designer handbags, sunglasses and clothing at a fraction of the cost – but according to the website, you only have two hours before the deal expires!  

Now in a rush, you punch in your credit card details. Christmas is sorted! Now to just wait for your tracking notifications to be updated after spending nearly $1000 on gifts. 

But the notification never comes. 

You scrawl the websites for their customer service details, and you try to call their phone number, it’s disconnected. 

Now starting to worry – you find an e-mail address on the website and send the company an enquiry. 

The e-mail bounces back.  

Now unsure what to do and starting to panic, you ponder and continue to wait in the hope the items eventually arrive. But deep down, you know you’ve been scammed. 

While most might feel they would never fall for such a scam – the level of sophistication by scammers continues to increase. Websites are often cloned to look like those from legitimate, reputable brands.

According to a Scam Watch report, there were over 2,000 reports of fake online stores in the lead up to the Black Friday Sales.  

The report also said The National Anti-Scam Centre had detected a concerning increase in the number of reports of fake websites that look like genuine online retail stores, with scammers now paying for their fake websites to appear at the top of internet search lists. 

In a time where scammers are going the extra mile to snag victims, there’s no better time than now to up your security knowledge to protect yourself.  

Working in partnership with BankVic, here is how you can avoid being scammed by a fake website while online shopping:

  • Be cautious of websites or sellers promoting exceptionally low prices, often undercutting comparable items on other platforms. Take a moment to assess whether a deal seems too good to be true. 
  • Always access websites through independent searches rather than clicking on links in emails, texts, or on social media. Make sure any shopping app you use is the official app for that particular store.  
  • Avoid making payments through direct bank deposits, money transfers, or cryptocurrency, as recovery could be close to impossible. Use safer methods such as PayPal or credit cards and consider having a second credit card with a low limit dedicated to online purchases. Ensure you always contact your bank and see if you can get a charge back if you think you’ve been scammed. 
  • For secure online shopping practices, ensure you use secure devices, avoid public WIFI, and implement multi-factor authentication. 

For more information

For more assistance, you can refer to the Australian Government website.  

Crime Stoppers Victoria acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Crime Stoppers Victoria (ABN 15 006 945 151) is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient. Donations of $2 or more to Crime Stoppers Victoria are tax deductible in Australia.
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