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The ACCC’s Black Friday scam warning

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned shoppers of an increase in online scams ahead of Black Friday sales.
accc black friday scam

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned shoppers of a “concerning” increase in online scams ahead of Black Friday sales this week.

The national consumer watchdog said there’s been a spike in fake websites that look like “genuine” and “big-name” online retailers.

Online shopping scams have cost Australians over $6.2 million in the year to October.

Background

The Black Friday sales weekend follows Thanksgiving — a national holiday in the U.S. this Thursday.

Despite its ties to an American tradition, Black Friday has increased in popularity with Australian retailers over recent years.

Black Friday officially starts on 24 November and continues with Cyber Monday on 27 November. However, many brands have launched their sales early.

The ACCC’s scam warning

Australian consumers are predicted to spend $6.36 billion this Black Friday period, prompting the ACCC to warn against the “opportunistic” nature of scammers.

ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said there’s been an “alarming increase” in scams “which use the latest technology” to look like well-known Australian brands.

Lowe said scammers are increasingly paying for fake websites “to appear at the top of your internet search”.

Safe Shopping

The ACCC said the best way to detect a scam “is to search for independent reviews before purchasing”.

It urged customers to “slow down and consider whether a sale is too good to be true,” and to avoid following links in emails, text messages or social media.

It recommended using apps from official app stores and paying by PayPal or credit card. “Never pay by direct bank deposit, money transfers or digital currencies.”

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