The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce is urging consumers to stay one click ahead of scammers when shopping online as more and more Australians, and scammers, take advantage of the online environment.
The Taskforce's National Consumer Fraud Week campaign, ‘Outsmart the scammers!’, which began today, focuses on helping Australians identify online shopping scams so that they can shop safely online without being duped.
To coincide with the campaign, the ACCC today launched its Targeting Scams annual report on scams activity, which revealed that Australians lost over $4 million to online shopping scams in 2012. The ACCC received over 8 000 contacts on these scams, an increase of 65 per cent from 2011 levels.
“As Australians flock to join the online shopping revolution, unfortunately scammers have also taken to shopping online – for victims”, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
Delia Rickard, Taskforce Chair and Deputy Chair of the ACCC, warned that Australians need to be alert to online shopping scams delivered under many guises and via any means. "These scams are increasingly sophisticated, with scammers going to great lengths to convince their targets that they are who they claim to be, copying corporate logos, producing counterfeit and official looking documents, and even creating fake mirror websites with a slightly different web address.”
“Scammers also take advantage of consumers’ trust in popular and well-established online communications channels by targeting them through these platforms. Make sure that the person you are dealing with, and their offer, is the real deal by verifying their identity.”
As part of the campaign, the ACCC will host a forum on online shopping scams on 18 June at the Arts Centre Melbourne. The event is open to the media.
The Taskforce comprises 23 government agencies across Australia and New Zealand with responsibility for consumer protection regarding frauds and scams.
For more information on the Taskforce and National Consumer Fraud Week, including common online shopping scams, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au/outsmartthescammers.
To download the ACCC’s Targeting scams report, visit www.accc.gov.au.