Police Warn Shoppers Of Scam Sites Ahead Of Black Friday Sales

Shoppers are being warned to stay vigilant this Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale weekend as scammers try to take advantage of customers.

The National Anti-Scam Centre has already detected a significant increase in the number of reports of fraudulent websites impersonating the genuine online retail stores.

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Scammers will often impersonate popular brands by using the latest technology to create convincing fake websites and include the brand’s logo, designs, and layouts.

Detective Sergeant John Cheyne from the cybercrime squad provided a number of tips to help consumers identify fake websites.

“Always check that the website is secure – all official websites will use ‘https’ to ensure an encrypted connection between the retailer and the customer. If you’re unsure, type the full company URL into the address bar yourself,” he said.

“Be very cautious of phishing messages with embedded links to sales which can come via text message, social media or email. Look for typos or inconsistencies in the link itself.

“If a website uses a non-secure payment method it’s a clear sign of a scam. Never complete bank or international transfers, money orders or pay via pre-loaded gift cards or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says there have already been over 2,760 reports of fake online stores this year, already claiming over half a million dollars from convinced shoppers.

In total, online shopping scams cost Australians over $6.2 million between January 1 and September 30 this year.

All scams can be reported to Scamwatch or by filling in an official online report to the police.

Anyone with knowledge of scammers’ activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit an online report.

“We encourage anyone who has been subject to a scam such as this to speak to police,” Detective Sergeant Cheyne said.

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