The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued two new publications to help online shoppers and small business owners avoid scams.
As part of fraud week, the ACCC has issued tips for shopping online, which provides internet users with hints on how to protect their security and trade safely online.
"The internet is a great way to get things done, especially shopping,” said ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell. “It can save you a lot of time and can be very convenient, but consumers need to be careful when online."
"In the past year the ACCC has recorded a 100 per cent increase in reports about online shopping scams," said Kell, who is also chair of the fraud taskforce.
"Nearly 70 per cent of consumers that contacted the ACCC about scams during 2009 said they were contacted by scammers via the internet."
The shopping online publication provides a number of useful tips such as finding out the seller's contact details, using secure payment systems and protecting personal details, as well as advice on what to do if things go wrong.
The ACCC has also issued a new fact sheet Small Business Scams, which explains the types of scams targeting small business and provides hints for business owners on how to avoid falling victim.
"Small business scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and scammers will go to great lengths to convince businesses that the documents they send or the offers they make are legitimate," said ACCC deputy chair responsible for small business Michael Schaper.
Small business scams come disguised in various forms – from false billing invoices for advertising or directory listings that were never requested to dubious office supplies that were never ordered. More recently, overpayment scams and dodgy investment opportunities have been added to the mix.
"In 2009 the ACCC has recorded a 60 per cent increase in the number of complaints about false billing scams – one of the main types of scams that target small businesses," said Schaper.
"A typical example of this is where a small business is sent a subscription form disguised as an outstanding invoice. This is an attempt to trick the recipient into signing up for unwanted advertising services."