Australians lost $74 million to online scams last year. 

Scammers create fake websites to look like well-known brands. They impersonate famous people and make it look like they recommend the product or service. They use fake reviews to make you trust them.

Advertising banners or pop-up windows that contain fake warnings or error messages can pressure you into acting. 

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Warning signs it might be a scam

Stop and think. It's probably a scam if the website:

  • sells items at significantly lower prices than usual or compared to other sites
  • has something unusual about the payment method, like only offering a single payment option or asking for payment in gift cards or Bitcoin
  • only includes positive reviews or reviews that are light on detail
  • has an urgent warning or error message that asks you to click a link
  • advertises a way to make quick, easy money with little or no risk or effort

Steps you can take to avoid website scams

These simple steps can help prevent loss of money or personal information to scams:

  • Do some research on the organisation or person you are dealing with before giving anyone your money or personal information
  • Don’t rely on reviews written on the website itself - search for independent reviews on other sites
  • If an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is. Research any investment opportunity fully before investing money. 
  • If a warning or error message pops up on your screen don’t click on it, instead go to the application it refers to directly to check if it is real.
  • If you have a secure, authenticated way to reach an organisation (an app or portal) use these rather than search engine results
  • Keep the device you use for online shopping up to date by enabling ‘automatic updates’ for your operating system and apps.
  • Find out how to protect yourself while shopping online on the Australian Cyber Security Centre website
  • Find out how to have safer, more positive online experiences on the eSafety website

Common Website scam types

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