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· Posted on
September 26, 2022

How to avoid scams this holiday season

The holidays are primetime for online shopping. But one thing online shopping ain’t great for? Scammers.

What's the key learning?

  • When shopping online or receiving calls/texts from random numbers, just be aware that you could be getting scammed
  • Be careful about how much of your identity you put out on your socials
  • Use strong passwords - aka a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols
  • Never share your passwords with others and always use password protection
  • If you think you've been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution straight away.

The holidays are primetime for online shopping. You can generally get good deals and most importantly, you can get away from the rush of shoppers. 

But one thing online shopping ain’t great for? Scammers. And there’s more of these going round during the holidays than the ongoing Jennifer Aniston pregnancy rumour.

Get this: Aussies have lost nearly $13 million to online shopping scams this year. And more than 26,000 scams have been reported to the consumer watchdog (aka the ACCC). 

Scams in Australia

The ACCC’s Scamwatch division received more than 2,800 reports for pet scams - and almost $3.5 million in losses so far this year! That’s a lot of pet beds for your furry friend, Flux fam.

How can I stay safe?

There are a few things you can do to stay safe these holidays:

1. Keep ya wits about you

When shopping online or receiving calls/texts from random numbers, just be aware that you could be getting scammed. The ACCC reckons if it looks too good to be true (like the chance to win $1 million just for clicking a button) it probably is (unfortunately). 

2. Keep your details secure

Shred all your bills and important documents, and be careful about how much of your identity you put out on your socials. You probably don’t need your passport ID number - or your driver’s license (soz, Olivia Rodrigo) on your Insta. 

3. Don’t use 1234 as a password

We know, we know...it’s tempting. But, use strong passwords (aka a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols...and try not to use the same password for every account and profile)

4. Keep your devices secure

This is a big one when it comes to online shopping. Never share your passwords with others and always use password protection. You should also password protect your WiFi, and be wary about using public WiFi to access things like your mobile banking.

What do I do if I think I've been scammed?

You should contact your bank or financial institution straight away. They might be able to stop a transaction or close your account if the details have been compromised. 

If your credit card was billed fraudulently, your credit provider might be able to perform a ‘charge back’ - aka, reverse the transaction. 

Then, report the scam to the authorities. Use the ACCC’s guide which tells you where to report the incident depending on the type of incident that occurred.

Once you’ve done all that, go back and change all your online passwords. Tedious, we know...but it could save you thousands of dollars - and give you peace of mind.

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