March 23, 2024

As you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, it’s more important than ever to be on alert for scams.

Australians have lost at least $280 million to scams this year and experts are predicting a bump in activity in December.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common scams to watch out for over the Christmas season.

Caravans, puppies, and other fake sales scams

Scammers are increasingly using fake websites to sell goods that never arrive.

“Fake websites selling goods is something that tends to peak at this time of year,” says David Lacey, managing director of scam support service IDCare.

Often scammers will pretend to be selling high-value items that have an emotional value, Dr Lacey explains, like caravans or puppies.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch received more than 2,800 reports of pet scams this year, with reported losses of almost $3.5 million. Vehicle scams meanwhile cost Australians more than $1.9 million.

“Usually, it starts with an ad pushed through email, social media or a search engine,” Dr Lacey explains.

“The websites we’re seeing some of the more sophisticated groups use will mirror existing websites or businesses.

“People will click on the ad, they’ll see a caravan … people will either be asked to pay up front or pay a deposit to a bank…

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