The Courier-Mail

Scram to avoid

Cash wind­falls, free vouch­ers, en­tic­ing deals ... Online scams pose a threat at the click of a key­stroke. Be wary to en­sure you don’t get stung, writes

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ONE of the best ways to avoid an online scam is, if in doubt,

not click.

do

In the first half of this year Aus­tralian con­sumers lost $650,000 to online scams – but these were only the ones re­ported to the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Au­thor­ity. Many go un­re­ported.

Shop­pers are be­ing en­cour­aged to take ex­tra care be­fore get­ting sucked in by money-hun­gry fraud­sters.

The ACCC’s deputy chair Delia Rickard says there are some key ways you can help re­duce the chances of be­ing scammed online.

Be wary of fake online shops that might look like the real deal but they ask you to pay in un­usual ways.

“If they ask you to pay by money or­der, wire trans­fer or load-and-go cards, I would as­sume it’s a scam un­der those cir­cum­stances,” Rickard says.

“Only pay by se­cure pay­ment meth­ods such as credit cards whereby you have some mech­a­nism for re­dress if some­thing goes wrong.”

Another easy way to iden­tify a dodgy site is by its ad­dress. If it doesn’t have “http” in the url and a pad­lock sign on the site, then it’s likely to be a scam.

It is com­mon these days to be bom­barded with dodgy emails pre­tend­ing to of­fer you some en­tic­ing deal or a mon­e­tary win such as a gift card or store voucher.

Look for er­rors in these emails – of­ten they’ll be lit­tered with spell­ing mis­takes and in­cor­rect English, which should set alarm bells ring­ing.

For ex­am­ple, if a re­tailer is of­fer­ing you a $1000 voucher, ques­tion why they would be do­ing this. And if you’re un­sure, con­tact the re­tailer di­rect to work out whether it’s le­git­i­mate.

“If in doubt, don’t click on it as it can

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