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Westpac warns of 47% surge in shopping scams this season By



© Reuters.

SYDNEY – As the festive season reaches its peak with heightened gift purchasing, Westpac has alerted consumers to a significant increase in shopping scams, which have surged by 47% compared to the previous year. These scams often appear as social media advertisements and fake online storefronts promoting highly sought-after items at unusually low prices.

In the wake of major sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Westpac processed over 31 million transactions and reported a corresponding rise in fraud-related inquiries from customers by approximately 5%. Ben Young, a representative from Westpac’s anti-fraud department, highlighted the vulnerability of consumers during times of increased spending and their potential focus on finding bargains.

Westpac’s proactive security measures have been crucial in combating these scams. The bank has managed to detect and prevent over 60% of attempted fraudulent activities aimed at their clients. This vigilance has shielded customers from potential scam losses amounting to over $235 million. As part of their defensive strategy, Westpac encourages the use of their Digital Card, which features a Dynamic CVC that changes daily, adding an extra layer of security for online purchases.

The bank also emphasizes the rise in ‘parcel anxiety’ during the holiday season and advises customers to independently verify delivery statuses to avoid falling prey to scam communications that may contain malicious links. Furthermore, Westpac stresses the importance of exercising caution with investment opportunities that seem too good to be true, suggesting that customers discuss such prospects with family members or seek expert advice before making any financial commitments.

Investment frauds are particularly concerning due to their sophisticated grooming tactics, which can lead to significant financial damage. These types of scams account for more than half of all scam-induced financial loss incidents reported. Scammers also employ other strategies such as sending manipulated invoices with altered payment details and deceptive prompts for urgent software installations—tactics designed to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information like email credentials and banking data.

Westpac advises shoppers to remain vigilant, independently verify payment details before transferring funds, and stay informed about common fraudulent schemes.

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