Australians shopping online for Christmas presents are being warned about a hoax employed by opportunistic scammers that “could cost unwary victims thousands of dollars”, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has warned.
The AFP said cyber criminals will attempt to exploit victims with fake delivery scams during December as they may be stressed and less attentive to details.

AFP Commander Cybercrime Operations Chris Goldsmid revealed one of the techniques used by scammers is called “spoofing”.

The AFP is warning Australians shopping online over Christmas to be alert to fake delivery scams.
The AFP is warning Australians shopping online over Christmas to be alert to fake delivery scams. (AFP)

“Cyber criminals often impersonate trusted brands, such as legitimate parcel delivery services, to send messages designed to trick consumers into clicking on URLs containing harmful malware or providing personal information,” Goldsmid said.

“This may include a technique called ‘spoofing’ in which cyber criminals make their messages look legitimate by using real company logos and fake sender details.”

Scamwatch lists online shopping scams in it’s “top 10 scams” according to the amount of money taken; Australians have lost more than $7.5 million to them in 2022.

Customers are being urged not to click on any suspicious links, as doing so can lead to the installation of malware on devices. (AP)

Upon clicking the link customers may be taken to a fake company website that urges them to enter personal and, or financial details, or malware could be downloaded to the device.

Goldsmid said taking a few minutes to confirm the legitimacy of a message could save thousands.

“Most delivery services will never text or email their customers to request personal or financial information,” he said.

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“If something doesn’t feel right, take the time to verify the request with the organisation using contact information listed on their website.

“If you receive one of these scam texts or emails do not click on any links, report it to Scamwatch, block the sender and delete the message immediately.”

The “red flags” of delivery scams include: requests for personal or financial information to confirm orders, an unexplained sense of urgency in the request, grammatical errors and suspicious URLs.

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