Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales officially mark the start of the holiday shopping season, and with online sales everywhere, it’s the perfect time to grab some pre-Christmas bargains. Now is also a great time to be aware of and protect yourself against scams and phishing emails as cybercriminals seek to take advantage of online shoppers.
Scammers can use emails, text messages, or social media to try to trick online shoppers into revealing account information or financial details. The most common online scams involve fake websites attempting to charge the victim for non-existent products and services, asking for personal and financial information, and installing malware on devices.
Here are the Financial and Cyber Crime Group’s top tips on how to stay safe while shopping online.
- Buy from reputable retailers or online stores. Double-check those marketing emails or social media pop-up ads to make sure they’re from legitimate stores – look at the email address, hover over any links without clicking on them to see where you’re being sent.
- If you find a good deal, add it to your cart, but don’t go straight to the checkout page – check out the rest of the site using a search engine, look at the URL, see what other items are for sale , don’t be forced to make a rash decision for fear of missing out.
- Make sure payment details are encrypted – look for the “https” prefix in the URL and a padlock icon in the URL bar and use a secure payment method. Pay by PayPal or your credit/debit card.
- Avoid engaging with unexpected purchase and shipping messages. Go directly to a legitimate source.
Stop and think before you make a purchase and be skeptical of an offer that seems too good to be true, because chances are it is.
Stay safe online and we hope you grab a legit deal.
To learn more about the scams, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.
If you have been the victim of a cybercrime, you can report it online at ReportCyber.
If you have lost money, notify your bank immediately.