National Consumer Fraud Week 17 – 23 June 2013
Have you ever bought or sold something online, only to find that the person at the other end isn’t the real deal?
National Consumer Fraud Week 2013 is all about helping you ‘outsmart the scammer!’ by learning how to buy and sell safely online without being duped.
Australians are increasingly going online to buy goods and services, taking advantage of the speed, convenience and greater choice that the internet can offer. Unfortunately scammers like shopping online for their victims too.
Online shopping scams target both buyers and sellers, with the two most common scams being:
- Classified ad scams – a scammer posts a fake ad on a legitimate classifieds website for cheaply priced popular items. If a consumer shows interest in an item, the scammer will claim that the goods will be delivered following receipt of payment. If the consumer pays, they will not receive the goods or be able to contact the seller.
- Overpayment scams – a scammer will respond to a seller’s ad with a generous offer and will then ‘accidentally’ overpay. The scammer will ask the seller to refund the excess amount by money transfer in hope that the seller will transfer the money before they discover that the scammer’s cheque has bounced or that the money order was phony. The seller will lose the money, as well as the item they were selling, if they have already sent it on to the scammer.
Here are the Top 5 tips to help you outsmart scammers when shopping online
- Think twice – if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Find out what other shoppers say – make sure the person that you are dealing with, and their offer, is the real deal.
- Protect your identity – your personal details are private and invaluable; keep them that way and away from scammers.
- Keep your computer secure – install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept up-to-date.
- Only pay via secure payment methods – look for a web address starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol. Never use a wire transfer service to send money to anyone you do not know and trust, and do not share your financial details with anyone.