Australian Federal Police (AFP) are warning shoppers to think before they click as criminals ramp up fake delivery scams this festive season.
The AFP says cybercriminals are extremely opportunistic and will be making the most of the busy Christmas period by impersonating legitimate businesses and tricking people into clicking harmful links, otherwise known as phishing.
The National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) has already received more than 11,000 reports of parcel delivery scams this year, with this figure expected to rise as shoppers take advantage of holiday season online shopping sales.
AFP Commander Cybercrime Operations, Chris Goldsmid said cybercriminals were capable of carrying out sophisticated phishing scams and it was important for the public to be aware of the dangers of shopping online.
“We’re warning shoppers not to let their guard down this holiday season,” Commander Goldsmid said.
“These types of scams can be really difficult to spot as cybercriminals will often impersonate well-known brands by using their name and logo.
“Sometimes phishing texts can even appear in real message threads from the company or come from an email address that is very similar to a legitimate company.
“Cybercriminals will use a range of techniques to lure their victims, including telling them that their package could not be delivered, sending tracking updates or messages claiming they have cancelled their delivery.”
Scammers will usually target victims in these scams via text or email but will sometimes go as far as calling the victim too.
When the victim clicks on a link, they may be taken to a fake company website and are asked to provide personal or financial details, while also potentially inadvertently installing harmful malware on their device.
Commander Goldsmid said consumers should keep an eye out for red flags over the Christmas period when scammers would be looking to take advantage of increased online shopping activity.
“Scams are becoming harder to identify as cybercriminals refine their tactics. I am urging shoppers to take time to verify who is sending you communication about your online shopping, if it looks suspicious, it may very well be a scam,” Commander Goldsmid said.
“Most companies won’t request their customers’ personal information via text or email.
“Financial losses involved in these scams can be devastating. Victims should also be aware that their personal information could also be stolen, making them more susceptible to future scams or other criminal activity.”
Tips to avoid falling victim to scams:
- Look carefully at the sender’s details and match them with the merchant or delivery company.
- Do not click on any links.
- Don’t provide any personal or bank information.
- Delete the message and block the sender.
- If you’ve been scammed, don’t be embarrassed. Notify your financial institution and report the incident to the National Anti-Scam Centre at scamwatch.gov.au. The faster you take action, the more likely you are to recuperate any losses.