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Experts are urging shoppers to exercise extreme caution when buying online in the lead-up to Christmas, listing a number of scams to watch out for.

Key points:

  • Via Scamwatch, Australians reported losing nearly $400m this year to September
  • Last year, reported scams peaked in October and November
  • Experts say consumers should watch for classified, online shopping and parcel scams

Last year, October and November were the most productive months for fraudsters — with almost 50,000 scams reported to Scamwatch.

And the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), a peak advocacy group for communications consumers, is predicting a spike in criminal activity again this year, as the holiday period looms.

“Unfortunately, we do anticipate there will be a higher proportion of scamming through the Christmas period,” ACCAN chief executive Andrew Williams said.

Australians contacting the federal government’s Scamwatch website have already reported losing nearly $400 million to fraudsters between January and September of this year.

And that amount is just the tip of the iceberg.

Last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams — an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded in the 2021 calendar year.

That figure included data reported to Scamwatch, as well as ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange, other government agencies and support service IDCARE.

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