New rules in the UK force Google, Facebook and Instagram to stop scam ads on their platforms. Australia’s yet to take action. 

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Need to know

  • We found multiple ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram that have all the hallmarks of promoting scam shopping websites
  • The scam ads are for some of Australia’s most popular retailers, including Country Road, Peter Alexander, Seed Heritage, Decjuba, Lorna Jane, Sportsgirl and Kathmandu
  • CHOICE is calling on the government to require digital platforms to do more to protect people from scams

With all their endless resources and revenue, shouldn’t the biggest digital platforms have safeguards in place to prevent scammers from posting fake ads? The fake ads, of course, lead to fake websites that have been set up to steal our money. 

Whatever hurdles Google, Facebook and Instagram have in place, they’re not stopping the scammers. 

So it’s no surprise that more than six out of 10 Australians think social media and digital platforms are not doing enough to protect us from scams, as recent CHOICE research revealed. 

CHOICE finds scam ads rife on local platforms

Over the past few weeks the CHOICE anti-scams team has been trawling the internet, and we’ve had no trouble finding ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram that have all the hallmarks of promoting scam shopping websites. 

The fake sites spoof the websites of popular Australian retailers, and it’s often very hard to tell the genuine from the fraudulent. 

And the ads can stay live for a long time. We found a scam ad on Google for the women’s clothing retailer Decjuba on 23 July, and it was still running when we last checked on 18 September.

The investigation also found issues with Google’s own policies to prevent scams because some advertisers do not appear to be verified before they publish ads.

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