Face mask scammers rip off unsuspecting online shoppers


1 min read

Scammers are taking advantage of online shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic, the ACCC has warned, face masks their latest target.

As coronavirus takes its hold in Melbourne and hotspots continue to crop up across NSW, facemask regulations and recommendations have grown and so too have scams to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.

Australia's leading scam detection agency ACCC's Scamwatch took to Twitter to warn consumers of increased reports of online face mask shopping scams in recent weeks.

"Scamwatch has received reports of alleged online shopping scam websites purporting to sell expensive medical face masks but not providing the goods," an ACCC spokesperson told nine.com.au.

Scamwatch has received over 3,900 reports mentioning coronavirus and over $3 million in reported losses since the start of the pandemic.

These scammers have created fake online stores claiming to sell not only face masks, but also cures or vaccinations for COVID-19, which don't exist, the ACCC said.

The detection agency says the biggest tip-off to identify a fake retailer is the method of payment.

"Be careful of online shopping sites requesting unusual payment methods such as up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin," the ACCC spokesperson said.

"The best way to detect a fake trader or social media online shopping scam is to search for reviews before purchasing."