Beware of scammers looking to help themselves to your hard earned cash, or even your identity, this Christmas.
While buying goods and services online can save you a great deal of time, and sometimes money, the sad and unfortunate reality is that not everyone is offering you a legitimate deal online. Fake websites, fake parcel delivery services, telephone scams, non-existent holiday accommodation, and bogus flight bookings are among the most common scams encountered, along with online shopping fraud.
In fact, according to police figures, Christmas shoppers are relieved of millions over the festive season with individuals losing around $200 to $300 each. However, research suggests that only 1 in 3 people report a scam related crime. Given these statistics, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) estimates that scammers cost Australian shoppers more than $89 million in 2013. This was a 10 percent rise on 2012 figures.
What are the Most Common Items Scammers Sell?
The five most ‘at risk’ items for Christmas shoppers to buy are mobile phones, game consoles, and clothing, such as ugg boots, jackets and jeans. Other common items are iPads and e-readers.
Online scams typically include sending fake goods, or sending no goods at all. Other cases involve identity theft where a buyer’s details are stolen and these details are then used to buy goods or to obtain finance from other sources.
So how can you protect yourself this Christmas?
eChoice’s Safe Online Christmas Shopping Tips
In order to avoid any financial stress this Christmas, eChoice recommends you follow these tips:
* Always keep your Internet security up-to-date.
* When shopping online only use secure sites. These start with https or have a gold padlock icon.
* Only ever log-in to your bank or an Internet shopping site by typing the web address into your browser.
* Never use links in emails to access websites and then enter in your account log-in details.
* Always log-out after using a secure site.
* Save a copy of all online transactions.
* Make sure your bank has your contact details so that someone can phone you about any unusual activity.
* Be wary of online auctions, especially if you are buying larger or more expensive items.
To stay away from the Christmas Grinch. Follow eChoice’s safe online shopping tips. Then you’ll smile your way into the New Year.
Written by eChoice