Aussies warned of scams ahead of Christmas

One of the big banks is warning Australians to be extra careful of scams in the lead up to the silly season, after this year’s Black Friday sales went crazy.

Westpac said over the sale weekend, the bank facilitated over 32 million customer interactions, with over 14 million sales transactions.

However, there was also a 17 per cent rise in fraud-related calls received in the days following the sales.

Westpac’s general manager of financial crime and fraud prevention Chris Whittingham said for scammers, the Christmas period is an opportunity to take advantage of Aussies.

He warned Aussies to be extra careful of scams in the lead up to the summer holidays.

“This may include buying and selling scams with fake websites offering competitive deals, enticing many Australians who may be rethinking their household budgets amid cost-of-living pressures,” Mr Whittingham said.

“Charity scams are also common at Christmas, exploiting our kindness through fake donation websites or even door knocking appeals.

“All Australians should take extra care when shopping online and be especially cautious of offers that may appear too good to be true, or that seek payment in new or unusual ways like through wire transfer, cryptocurrency or via instalments.

“If you’re buying something from a business you’ve never dealt with or heard of before, consider running an online search to first verify if the business is legitimate,” Mr Whittingham said.

Westpac has released a “digital card” available through their app, which has a dynamic 3 digit CVC code that changes every day for extra security.

Mr Whittingham said customers were also urged to use PayID, which allows people to link payee details to a registered ABN or phone number.

Scams to look out for this Christmas

Fake parcel delivery, with scammers impersonating reputable delivery services and using text messages with fake links to track delivery. These links can download software onto you device which allows a scammer to take money or personal data.

– Buying and selling scams, fake websites “selling” goods or services cheap. Always look up businesses first to see if they’re real.

– Fake charities, scammers are taking advantage of Aussies in the giving season by setting up fake websites or doorknock appeals. If you’re unsure, look them up on the national charity register.

– Investment scams, which offer quick and high returns might seem enticing during the silly season for a quick cash flow option. Always speak to professionals before making large investments.

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