Aussies hunting down a bargain during Black Friday sales are warned to be wary of scams.
The National Anti-Scam Centre issued the warning for shoppers to watch out for scam websites impersonating high-profile Australian retailers.
"We have seen an alarming increase in reports of fake online shopping website scams, which use the latest technology to look like genuine, well-known Australian fashion and footwear labels," ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
There have been 2,760 reports of fake online stores resulting in more than half a million dollars lost so far in 2023.
And with a "disturbing development" of scammers paying for their websites to appear first in internet searches, online shoppers are urged to be vigilant.
"Consumers may wish to familiarise themselves with the site addresses of their favourite brands and navigate there directly or scroll down the search results to ensure they find the real site," Ms Lowe said.
Shoppers are tipped by Roy Morgan to spend $6.36 billion during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale weekend, from November 24 to 27.
Fake websites can feature stolen logos, ABN numbers, sophisticated layouts and designs, and even a ".com.au" domain name to appear genuine.
They may also use social media to advertise the website.
The National Anti-Scam Centre has been working with retailers to disrupt scam activity and remove fake websites.
Tips to avoid scams this Black Friday
- Stop - don't feel pressured or rush to act quickly. Take your time to consider if the sale item is real.
- Think - ask yourself if the website or sale item could be fake. Scammers impersonate trusted brands. Search for independent reviews or contact the retailer using contact information you source independently, so you can verify the deal is real.
- Protect - Act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank immediately if you have lost money to a scammer. Seek help from UIDCARE and report to Scamwatch.