Consumers should beware of scam websites pretending to be high-profile Australian retailers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned, ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale.
Research by the Australian Retailers Association, in partnership with Roy Morgan, showed that shoppers are tipped to spend $6.36 billion during the weekend sale from November 24 to November 27.
Online shopping scams cost Australians more than $6.2 million between January 1 and September 30, the ACCC’s National Anti-Scam Centre said.
The government agency noted that there have been 2760 reports of fake online stores so far this year.
“A recent, disturbing development is that scammers are paying for their fake websites to appear at the top of your internet search. This means you can’t necessarily trust the first listing you see,” said Catriona Lowe, ACCC deputy chair.
“As an alternative, consumers may wish to familiarise themselves with the site addresses of their favourite brands and navigate there directly or scroll down the search results to ensure they find the real site.”
Lowe added that scammers are primarily targeting fashion and shoe retail brands. Scam websites usually offer luxury items at very low prices and customers will either receive fake products or none at all.
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