Avoid scams while spoiling Mum this Mother’s Day
- Mother’s Day online shoppers warned to be on alert for fake websites and scams
- Consumers urged to know their rights if gifts are faulty or they’ve been misled
- A reminder that gift cards now have a three-year minimum expiry limit
Consumer Protection is encouraging shoppers to be diligent when looking for Mother’s Day gifts, particularly online.
Consumers who increasingly rely on internet shopping for convenience and choice are being warned to be on alert for scams.
In 2022, WA ScamNet received reports from 274 online shoppers who lost a total of $876,774 to scams. Similar numbers were reported in 2021 with 275 victims losing $728,982.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said don’t let losing money to scammers spoil the lead up to the special day.
“It’s great to be able to purchase thoughtful gifts so easily but people need to take steps to keep themselves safe from scams, including fake websites,” Ms Blake said.
“Fake sites can look very convincing. Please don’t trust a site just because you’ve seen it advertised or shared on social media.
“The best way to detect a fake trader or online shopping scam is to search for independent reviews before purchasing. Other warning signs include very low prices and unusual payment options such as money order or wire transfer.”
Ms Blake encouraged consumers to compare products and prices with other sellers before making a purchase.
“It’s also important to check the trader’s returns and refund policy,” she added.
“Most products and services have automatic consumer guarantees, which means you can get a remedy if a product is faulty, or if you receive the wrong item. Consumer rights apply whether buying online or in store.”
Consumer rights also apply to gift cards, which are a popular option for Mother’s Day, which is on Sunday, 14 May.
Most gift cards must have a minimum three-year expiry period and the expiry date must be clearly displayed on the gift card or voucher. Buyers should check the terms and conditions of the card to ensure they suit the recipient.
More tips for shopping safely online:
- Read the terms and conditions and note any additional fees or cancellation charges before you make a purchase;
- Check the delivery timeframes;
- Ensure the website is secure before making payment. Look for the closed padlock symbol and make sure the website address begins with https (with an ‘s’ for secure);
- Take screenshots and save copies of documentation including receipts and confirmation emails; and
- Be wary of clicking links in emails or social media messages as they may direct you to a fake site or download malware to your device to steal your personal information.
If consumers have any problems with goods or services purchased from a business, Consumer Protection encourages them to approach the trader in the first instance to try and resolve the matter. If this is unsuccessful, they can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website, email email@example.com or call 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org