Online shopping has revolutionised the way we purchase goods and services, offering convenience and access to a global marketplace. However, it has also opened the door to a variety of scams that can lead to significant financial loss. At Australian Mutual Bank, we are dedicated to helping our clients stay safe online. Here are some red flags to watch out for and steps you can take to help prevent online shopping scams.

Red flags of online shopping scams

  • The deal seems too good to be true. If an online offer seems unbelievably good, it probably is. Scammers often lure victims with promises of drastically discounted prices on popular items.
  • No T&Cs, ABN, or Privacy Policy on the website. Legitimate businesses will always provide clear Terms and Conditions (T&C), an Australian Business Number (ABN), and a privacy policy. The absence of these indicates a potential scam.
  • Multiple payment options listed, but only card details are accepted. Be wary if a website lists various payment methods but insists on getting your card details. This inconsistency is a common tactic used by scammers.
  • Payment by money order, transfer, or pre-paid card only. Scammers often request payments through less traceable methods such as money orders, bank transfers, or pre-paid cards. Avoid these payment methods and opt for more secure options.
  • The name on the destination account does not match the business. Always double-check that the account name you're transferring money to matches the business name. Discrepancies can be a sign of fraudulent activity.
  • The business won't look into a complaint or ignores contact attempts. Genuine businesses address customer complaints and maintain open lines of communication. Ignoring your contact attempts is a major red flag.
  • The website is taken down. If a website disappears shortly after you’ve made a purchase, it’s likely a scam. Scammers often create temporary websites to avoid detection.

Steps to Prevent Online Shopping Scams

  • Verify the ABN. Always look for an ABN on the website and verify it using the ABN Lookup site. A valid ABN can confirm the legitimacy of the business
  • Exercise caution with social media. Scammers frequently use social media platforms to advertise fraudulent offers. Be extra cautious when clicking on social media ads or links.
  • Check for essential information. Ensure the website includes clear Terms and Conditions, a Privacy Policy, Dispute Resolution information, and contact details. Lack of this information is a red flag.
  • Ensure secure payment pages. Before entering payment details, make sure the website’s payment page is secure. Look for a padlock symbol in the browser’s address bar, indicating a secure, encrypted connection.
  • Verify the website’s authenticity. Don’t assume the first site you find is genuine. Take time to research and confirm the website’s legitimacy. Check for reviews and feedback from other customers.

By being vigilant and following these preventive steps, you may significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to online shopping scams. Remember, if something feels off, trust your instincts and do further research.

At Australian Mutual Bank, your security is our priority. If you have any concerns or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Stay safe and happy shopping!

01 July 2024