9 July 2021 — Online shopping scams are becoming more frequent in Australia – in fact, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that as of March this year alone, they had already received over 4000 reports to their website representing losses totalling over $1.7 million.*
Often, the scammers set up a fake or ‘phishing’ website that is designed to fool buyers into believing they’re purchasing goods online from legitimate businesses.
OEDA (Outboard Engine Distributors Association) is warning consumers to be extra vigilant to only buy from reputable sources.
Some of the best ways to identify a legitimate website is in the address bar: look for the s in https:// for secure, a correctly spelled domain or a lock icon next to the address.
If a consumer is caught out by a fake site, or almost caught out, it can be difficult to know what to do next.
“As a consumer, the first step to take is to report the domain to your local police,” said OEDA’s Executive Officer, Lindsay Grenfell.
“Following that, we have compiled a list of the most important actions consumers should take.”
OEDA recommends these further steps for consumers:
- Check with manufacturers official social media platforms and sites for information on the legitimacy of the site or scam warnings
- If in Australia: report the scam to the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) at Scamwatch
- If in New Zealand: report the scam to Netsafe
- Contact OEDA and/or the manufacturers from the targeted website – alerting them of the domain name and nature of the website
- If you have been scammed of money: report it to your bank
“I think it’s important to share knowledge like this in the industry so we can better protect each other and our consumers,” said Lindsay.
“Manufacturers are doing their best to keep up with the latest advice in dealing with fake websites if they do become the target of one.
“They have many strategies in place to remove a false domain as quickly as possible, but sometimes it still can’t be fast enough before a consumer gets scammed.
“My main piece of advice for anyone who is unsure would be that if the deal seems too good to be true, it’s always better to be cautious.” *www.choice.com.au 19 May 2021: https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/online-shopping/buying-online/articles/how-to-spot-a-fake-fraudulent-or-scam-website