More than 1,000 reports of online shopping scams have been received by the ACCC since the start of 2017, after reports increased by 120% in the past three years.
Almost half of the 1,025 people that reported fake online stores to the ACCC’s Scamwatch service had lost money, with a total loss of over $150,000 since the start of the year.
Online shoppers in the 18-24 age group reported losing money the most so far this year, making up 29% of reports.
“Australians love shopping online and scammers take advantage of this by setting up fake websites that look like genuine online stores, including professional-looking design, stolen logos, and even a ‘.com.au’ domain name and/or stolen ABNs,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
“The only thing these websites are selling is false hope. The scammers running these sites will advertise goods, often well-known and trusted brands, at unbelievably low prices to lure in unsuspecting consumers shopping around for a good deal. If something looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true,” Ms Rickard said.
The ACCC has warned online shoppers to avoid making payment by money order, pre-loaded money card, wire transfer or gift card, and to research retailers on Google when in doubt about their authenticity.
More information about avoiding online shopping scams can be found on the ACCC’s Scamwatch website.