In this year alone Australians have lost almost $7 million to online shopping scams. With Christmas coming up fast, scammers are our in full force. This post will go over some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself from online shopping scams.
“More people have been shopping online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and scammers are now targeting people doing their Christmas shopping, including in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.”
– ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard *
Some of the top targeted items are:
5. Laptops / Computers / Drones
Here are our top tips to avoid scams:
Do your research – check the reviews
If you want to purchase an item from an online store that you have not visited before, look at their reviews. Check out their Facebook page, Google Reviews and do a Google search about the business. Results may show you right away that other customers have not received their goods or if you find nothing, that might be a sign to try a more reputable online store.
Use Paypal wherever possible
If you use Paypal to pay for your order and do not receive your order, you can submit a dispute. Always contact the seller first to make sure that the order is not just delayed. You have 180 days to submit a dispute so there is plenty of time. It is always best to contact the seller first there may be a legitimate reason for the delay. If there is no communication that may be a sign that your order may not be coming.
When purchasing from ebay…
The good thing about ebay is that there is nowhere to hide when it comes to reviews. You can clearly see a seller’s rating, how many items they have sold and what other buyer’s have said about the seller or products. Ebay can also connect with your Paypal account so you can have all of the protection of Paypal when making a purchase.
When purchasing from Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace…
Scammers on Gumtree or Facebook marketplace like to ask for money upfront saying they will be overseas and that someone else will deliver or mail the goods. Transactions like this are at the buyer’s risk. If you can, meet at a public place to exchange goods. If you must submit a deposit – see if you can do so via Paypal.
Some final things to think about
If an item is priced too well it could be too good to be true. When in doubt always buy from a known store or brand. They might cost a bit more, but you know that you will receive your order at the quality you know. If possible, use an Australian store – orders will arrive quicker and it is easier to communicate with the seller.