Black Friday 2019: Online shopping scams up 22%, says ACCC
New ACCC figures show $4 million in scams this year so far. Don't get caught out!
Black Friday kicks off an online shopping season that runs all the way to Christmas and Boxing Day. That's good news for bargain hunters, but also fertile grounds for con artists.
New figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) highlight just how big the problem has become.
So far in 2019, Australians have lost $4 million to online shopping scams. That's up 22% from the $3.28 million figure for the whole of 2018.
"Reported losses have tripled over the last three years and it is concerning that losses from this year are already so high," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement announcing the latest figures.
"Some of the most commonly reported products that scammers are attempting to sell this year are shoes, smartphones and tickets to events, with losses from these items so far exceeding half a million dollars," she noted.
That $4 million only represents a small proportion of online sales. Research by Finder suggests that sales in Australia over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period alone will be over $3.9 billion. However, that's cold comfort if you do end up paying out for goods that are never delivered or that are counterfeit.
Avoid being scammed by following these simple tips for safe shopping. The ACCC highlights these points in particular:
- Watch out for sellers who request payments via a direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency. It's much harder to recover a scam payment made directly from your bank account and virtually impossible with cryptocurrency.
- Make sure you're buying from a genuine retailer. Scammers often set up "fake" sites for luxury goods that try and impersonate the look of the actual store.