In the past, snagging great deals meant braving crowded stores. But now, Black Friday sales have gone digital, making it easier for scammers to prey on unsuspecting shoppers.
Legitimate retailers are projected to rake in an astounding $6.36 billion this week, and scammers are set to cash in as well.
Recent data reveals that scammers are getting pretty good taking our money. They’ve already swindled us out of approximately $3 billion in just a year, nearly double the previous year’s total.
Despite 85% of us acknowledging the rise in online scams, a worrying 70% still don’t know how to identify them.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has already received reports of nearly 3,000 fake websites this year.
One common trick is through social media ads. If they look too good to be true, they probably are. Even popular brands like Mecca have fallen victim to fake scam ads on Facebook and Instagram.
One Instagram user, Julia, recently encountered an advertisement that seemed too good to pass up. The ad, showcasing an online sale from Mecca, seemed legitimate at first glance. But upon clicking the “Shop Now” button, she was redirected to a fake website mirroring Mecca’s branding and offering irresistible discounts.
However, no products were ever delivered after placing an order and providing payment details—a classic scam.
This fraudulent technique is not exclusive to Mecca. Many Australian retailers have fallen victim to cloned websites and fake social media pages. Cybercriminals use these tactics to lure in unsuspecting shoppers and steal their credit card information for fraudulent purchases or selling to others.
Another scam to watch out for involves gift card scams and receiving fake order confirmation and delivery emails.
So, if you’re bombarded with enticing deals on your phone and in your inbox, remember that scammers are looking to take advantage of the Black Friday frenzy.
By reporting scams to relevant organisations, such as Scam Watch, your bank and retailers, victims may not personally benefit, but they play a crucial role in preventing others from falling victim to the same scams.