Major banks Westpac and NAB have warned Aussies to be extra careful of scams in the lead up to the silly season.
Westpac data revealed the days following this year’s Black Friday sales resulted in a 17% rise in fraud-related calls.
Chris Whittingham, Westpac General Manager of Financial Crime and Fraud Prevention, said the joyous season is the perfect time for scammers to take advantage of the hearts and wallets of Aussies.
“This may include buying and selling scams with fake websites offering competitive deals, enticing many Australians who may be rethinking their household budgets amid cost-of-living pressures,” Mr Whittingham said.
“Charity scams are also common at Christmas, exploiting our kindness through fake donation websites or even door knocking appeals.”
Mr Whittingham recommends taking extra care when shopping online including avoiding offers that are too good to be true and using a digital card that has a dynamic three-digit CVC code.
“Be cautious of offers that seek payment in new or unusual ways like through wire transfer, cryptocurrency or via installments,” he said.
“If you’re buying something from a business you’ve never dealt with or heard of before, consider running an online search to first verify if the business is legitimate.”
Common Christmas scams to avoid
Fake parcel delivery
Scammers impersonate reputable delivery services and send text messages telling you a parcel is on the way in a bid to get you to click on the track delivery link.
Clicking on the link will download a software onto your device allowing the scammer to steal your money or personal information.
NAB Executive for Small Business Ana Marinkovic advises shoppers to never click links set via an SMS or email.
“Around these key shopping periods every year we see an increase in dodgy phishing messages and spoofing scams that pretend to be from a delivery company,” Ms Marinkovic said.
“If in doubt, contact the delivery company directly through their official channels and never click on links in suspicious looking messages.”
Buying and selling scams
Shoppers should be on alert for fake websites spellings goods and services at prices that may seem too good to be true.
Always look up a website if you’ve never heard of or bought something from there before to find out if they’re legitimate.
Some scammers like to take advantage of Australians’ generosity by setting up fake (non-existent) donation websites or even by posing as door-knocking appeals.
Before offering a payment to a charity, you can verify their details with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
Investment scams trick consumers by offering quick, high returns - which may seem enticing at this time of year.
If an offer appears too good to be true, then it probably is.
Always consult a professional before making an investment.
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