Christmas holidays are a time for celebration and relaxation.
But it’s also a time that scammers and fraudsters use to target unsuspecting consumers.
That’s why the Albanese government is urging Australians to be on guard against scams as they head into the summer break.
The Christmas shopping rush is a major opportunity for scammers looking to catch the unwary.
It’s also a time when they exploit our elderly and other vulnerable groups who may be experiencing loneliness.
So‑called phishing scams, which allow scammers to remotely take over phones and personal computers, are the biggest risk at this time of year.
Australians should also be on the lookout for impersonation scams, where scammers pose as a legitimate business or family member.
Simple safety techniques like never giving personal details over the phone, and avoiding clicking on suspicious links in text messages or emails, can help keep us all safe.
The top 5 scams to avoid this Christmas are:
1. Online Shopping Scams
Fake toy‑shop websites often emerge at Christmas, usually posing as a “new” online toy retailer. Consumers should shop with trusted websites and always pay securely with credit card or online payment services like PayPal.
2. Delivery / Parcel Scams
These ubiquitous scams send a link via text message to unsuspecting consumers telling them they have a parcel ready for delivery. Pressing on the link then allows scammers to hack into the consumers’ phone. Delivery scams are most prevalent during busy shopping periods like Christmas. Never click on a suspicious link sent via text or email.
3. Unwanted Present Scams
Scammers are known to place “unwanted present for sale” ad in classified websites over the Christmas period. Consumers should be use caution and buy from reputable online auction sites only.
4. “Hi Mum” scams
These scams work by scammers impersonating a family member claiming to have lost their phone and can be adapted with a Christmas message. Communicating via a voice call to authenticate any claim of a lost phone is an easy way to combat these scams.
5. Puppy Scams
Getting a puppy for Christmas is a great tradition for Australian kids. But fake online puppy sales can break hearts and bank balances. Consumers are urged to adopt a dog from the RSPCA or buy only from reputed breeders.