You have
Register for a free account to access unlimited free content.
accountants daily logo

Scammers stand ready to attack during holidays


Christmas comes for digital cheats when they take advantage of people distracted by festivities.

By Keeli Cambourne 10 minute read

Christmas comes for scammers too according to the Commonwealth Bank, as they take advantage of people’s diverted attention in the rush to prepare for the holidays.

CBA general manager of group fraud, James Roberts said Christmas spelled opportunity for scammers and investment cheats accounted for 59 per cent of all value lost.

“While everyone else is thinking about buying Christmas gifts or spending time with friends and family, scammers are busy targeting their next victim,” he said.

While investment scams accounted for the majority of losses, remote access scams were most common and represented 43 per cent of scams by volume.

Mr Roberts said the best way to protect yourself over Christmas was to stop, check and reject every suspicious message or phone call.

“Most scammers use time-pressure tactics to push you into doing something that you ordinarily would not do,” he said.

When shopping online people should be “naturally sceptical”.

“Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true, such as luxury items or popular brands being offered at unusually low prices. Don’t rush or be pressured by ‘limited offers’ or end of sale ‘countdowns’ – scammers always try to create a sense of urgency.”

CBA outlined some common scams to look out for over the holidays:

  1. Relationship scams: “Hi mum/dad”

With many families out and about during the festive season, you might receive messages on different messaging platforms from a scammer posing as a relative. They usually posed as your children or even as your mum or dad. The scammers would often say that they’re using a “new” number and ask for funds to pay for an urgent expense.

What to watch for:

  • WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or an SMS claiming to be your children or family member asking for money.
  • The scammer will often say that they’ve broken their phone and are using a "new" number.
  • They will often ask for an urgent NetBank transfer of money or to pay for a bill or other expenses with your card.
  • Don’t transfer any funds being requested in these messages, and call your relative on their usual number to confirm. If you do transfer funds, the likelihood of recovering these funds would be minimal, if any.
  1. Online shopping scams

Everyone loves a bargain, but watch out for websites where the prices of items are unusually low, or where upfront payments are requested outside the usual payment channels (eg via money order or gift cards).

Be careful when making purchases through social media marketplaces, as there are generally no consumer protections for these. Explore more tips about staying safe while online shopping.

  1. Parcel delivery scams

With many of us expecting parcel deliveries at this time of year, you might receive SMS and email notifications advising that unexpected packages have been delivered or are ready to be collected. These scam notifications often contain links to fake websites where you are encouraged to provide personal or banking information to receive your package.

  • Watch out for unexpected messages that ask you to input any personal information or request a payment.
  1. Flight and holiday accommodation scams

Beware of holiday scams when booking your next trip. When purchasing flights, always buy your tickets from reputable websites or from the airline directly. Scammers set up fake websites that appear legitimate to make you believe you’re purchasing real flight tickets.

Be wary of discounts on accommodation that seem “too good to be true”, require upfront deposits or aren’t actually available for rent.

  1. Charity scams

Many legitimate charities run donation campaigns during the festive season. Scammers use this time of giving to convince people to donate to their non-existent charity.

If you ever doubt of the legitimacy of a charity, contact them directly after verifying their details with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.



You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!
You are not authorised to post comments.

Comments will undergo moderation before they get published.

accountants daily logo Newsletter

Receive breaking news directly to your inbox each day.