The lights are up, Christmas cheer is all around, and the convenience of online Christmas shopping appeals. But buyer beware, convenience may come at a cost. Christmastime and the New Year break are critical periods to embrace the spirit of cyber security.
The top three scams to look out for:
- Parcel delivery scams – Scammers send emails to victims claiming they have been unable to deliver parcels and then demand a small fee to rearrange the delivery. They then capture payment card details to commit more serious fraud.
- Online shopping scams – Probably the most pervasive online scam, cyber thieves set up replicas of major retailer sites and dupe unsuspecting consumers to surrender payment card details.
- Classified scams - Scammers pose as legitimate sellers on Facebook, Instagram, Gumtree, Amazon, eBay or other channels and sell fake products. These can get serious, with scammers selling high-value products like cars, boats or furniture.
Keeping an eye on your bank account and knowing how much items cost may help you spot a scam but gift yourself ‘peace of mind’ by following our safety tips.
Here are five simple steps to stay safe online:
- If it feels too good to be true, it likely is. So, be highly suspicious of deals offering prices ridiculously lower than average, especially for luxurious goods. Slow down and carefully research the seller.
- Avoid online sellers that use pressure tactics or psychological manipulation. Don’t be pressured to act on limited offers or end-of-sale countdowns – scammers always invoke a sense of urgency.
- Manually type the website address of your trusted online store instead of simply clicking adverts that persistently pop up on social media.
- Pay using a credit card (avoid wire transfers, gift cards or cryptocurrency). If the bank determines that payments from your card were fraudulent, they will likely refund you. This is impossible with other payment forms.
- Check for obvious red flags from the seller's website. These include the absence of contact details, unregistered businesses (no ABN or CRN), or newly registered domains. You can use the ICANN Lookup search to see when the website was registered.
You can also visit Stay Smart Online - Australian Government for step-by-step guidance on secure online shopping, including what to do if you are a victim of cybercrime.
So, have yourself a merry little online Christmas and New Year's shopping experience, and stay safe!