Black Friday shoppers receive a grim warning about scams from fake websites.

A cautionary alert has been issued regarding fraudulent online shopping websites attempting to deceive consumers with counterfeit Black Friday deals. With Australian shoppers anticipated to spend a staggering $6.36 billion during the Black Friday sales, scammers are actively seeking a share of the spoils, posing a risk of non-delivery or receiving fake products. The National Anti-Scam Centre has noted a surge in reports detailing fake websites imitating well-known brands in the lead-up to the sales extravaganza. This year alone has seen 2,760 reports of such deceptive online stores, resulting in Australians losing over half a million dollars.

Scammers employ sophisticated tactics, replicating the appearance of authentic online stores belonging to popular Australian brands. This includes utilizing intricate designs, stolen logos, “.com.au” domain names, and pilfered Australian Business Numbers. Frequently, these deceptive websites offer luxury items at unusually low prices. In some cases, shoppers may receive counterfeit items or, worse, nothing at all. The Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Catriona Lowe, emphasizes that scammers are exploiting the holiday shopping season, particularly during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, targeting unsuspecting consumers.

A disconcerting trend is the payment by scammers to elevate their fake websites to the top of internet search results, making it challenging for consumers to trust the legitimacy of the first listing they encounter. As the Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales period is projected to account for 10% of the entire holiday season spending, consumers are urged to exercise caution. The National Retail Association estimates a significant portion of holiday expenditures will occur during this four-day sales frenzy. A recent survey by Finder, involving over 1,000 Australians, reveals that nearly one in three individuals plan to participate in the Black Friday weekend spending spree.

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