As we all look forward to the festive season, it’s important to remember that during this period, we must remain vigilant to scams, particularly if you shop online. This is a time where people want to spread the Christmas cheer to their loved ones but unfortunately, scammers like to take advantage of people’s good nature.
With the holiday season around the corner, we want to ensure that you’re aware of the scams out there and be best prepared. We also wanted to use this opportunity to shed some light and provide focus on the impacts of scams on vulnerable populations and share tips to help avoiding losing money to scams.
If you’re someone that enjoys the convenience of being able to shop for what you want online, especially during what could be a time consuming and chaotic shopping centre experience, you should be aware and vigilant of the threats of online shopping scams. You also need to be wary of social media advertising that could provide you with a false product or service being promoted.
You’d be surprised by how many people can fall into the trap of purchasing from a legitimate looking site, so it’s important to stay vigilant and perform your own due diligence or online audit, especially for large purchases before you commit to buying. Don’t forget to also consider all genuine reviews and feedback provided. More tips are provided in the next section.
Below are products that are popular amongst online shopping and classified scams, according to Scamwatch1:
We also recommend being careful on sites such as online marketplaces, as these can be a hotspot for scammers listing items that don’t exist.
Below are some helpful tips you should consider when online shopping to help keep safe during the festive season:
During the holiday season, individuals may feel isolated and alone, which could make them more prone to being victims of scams. Unfortunately, First Nations, people with disability and those part of the culturally diverse communities (CALD) are more vulnerable to getting scammed.
It was reported in July this year that scam reports from the vulnerable populations, such as culturally diverse communities (CALD), people with disability and First Nations people almost doubled in 20212.
According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), they reported that scammers stole over $66 million last year from First Nations people2.
It’s been mentioned that scammers specifically target those part of the CALD and First Nations communities2.
Interestingly, younger First Nations members lost more money than older members in their community2. The most financially damaging types of social engineering scams were:
People from CALD communities reported $42 million losses in 2021, which is an 88% increase compared to 20202. The main financial losses that came from this community was through investment scams, usually in the form of ponzi scams and pyramid scheme apps, followed by romance scams and scams that threatened life, arrest, or other2.
Those who identified as having a disability made 15,387 reports to Scamwatch in 2021, losing more than $19.6 million to scams2.
If you identify as a vulnerable person, it’s important to get yourself educated on the latest scams and find ways to best protect your sensitive information, including your banking details.
In late September, Optus had a cyber security breach, which impacted over 10 million customers having their personal information compromised online.
Medibank were also involved in a cyber security breach in October, which not only impacted their customer database but ahm and international student databases. Customers involved in the breach had their personal and health data compromised by the cybercriminal.
We understand that this has affected some of our customers, and that there was a high level of concern following the incident as well.
At Qudos Bank, the protection of your personal information and your accounts is important to us and has and will always be a priority.
If you were impacted by the breach, we recommend that you consider the following:
We encourage you to visit our Fraud & Security hub for more helpful information and tips to help protect your information.
If you identify any suspicious activity on your accounts, please contact us immediately on 1300 747 747.