ChannelLife Australia - Industry insider news for technology resellers
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66% of scammed Australians unlikely to report them
Thu, 22nd Jun 2023

End of financial year sales are all around us, and according to the Australian Retailers Association, Aussies will spend a whopping $9.3 billion on mid-year sales this year. For scammers, the thirst for shoppers to grab a bargain means that there are thousands of unsuspecting new victims on the horizon. 

Scams are everywhere - the PayID scam, the Netflix Scam and the Quickfire scam are just some of the ones doing the rounds. Online shopping scams are often a little different. It involves criminals creating a mimic of ghost shopping sites to rip off unsuspecting shoppers. Some are incredibly sophisticated and will use social media ads, or have really strong SEO, so customers are targeted based on what they are interested in. 

Australians have had more than $2.5 million stolen from them in these types of scams, and that is just in the first four months of this year. We also know that Australians often don't report scams to authorities when it takes place -recent research from SellSecurely found that two-thirds (66%) of Australians who have been scammed didn't report it. 

What we also know is that when it comes to these types of scams, individuals tend to lose less than $1000, with the low price of the products on offer helping scammers to lure in victims, and Millennials (aged 25-45) are the most likely to fall victim to this type of scam. 

There are some tips on how to avoid scams this sale season (while still being about to grab a bargain), here are my top tips: 

  1. Ask questions, shop around and compare offers before you buy. Any legitimate seller will allow you to ask questions about the item ahead of making a purchase, so if you are suspicious, make sure you ask some questions. Ask for additional information, more photos and try and understand why this item is priced below others. A quick conversation with the seller is usually a great way to uncover a possible issue. 
  2. Research customer reviews: By taking some time to read customer reviews on the site or doing a simple Google search to review feedback from others, you will be able to understand if the site is legitimate or not. The internet is a powerful place, so if the seller is dodgy, there will usually be someone who has reported it in the past. 
  3. Be aware of the full cost of the item, including extra charges, taxes or additional shipping and handling fees when purchasing online. There are many ways that sellers will make extra money, so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to understand hidden fees and charges. 
  4. Use a trustworthy third-party payment service such as SellSecurely if purchasing online, particularly when buying and selling privately. SellSecurely engages Escrow - which means both the buyer and seller are protected. Money is transferred fast, and with both parties approving the payment - there is no room for scams to take place. This is a new technology, and it has been built to protect the buyer and the seller. 

With some vigilance and additional research, you can still nab a great bargain over the coming weeks, but at the end of the day, I always live by the motto of: if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.