Online shoppers target of Christmas cyber grinches

Department of Defence

In the lead-up to Black Friday and festive season sales, Australians must be alert to the cybercriminals seeking to steal your Christmas joy and your money.

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Andrew Hastie MP, urged Australians to be alert to the Christmas grinches who are seeking to steal their money and personal information via online shopping fraud.

“We all love browsing online for a bargain and it’s a convenient way for many of us to do our Christmas shopping at this time of year, but if you are not alert you could get taken in by fraudulent deals,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“Last financial year the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received over 11,000 reports of online shopping cybercrime, making up about 17% of all reports to the ACSC’s ReportCyber during this period – and one cybercrime was reported every eight minutes.”

“Businesses are already recognising the ACSC’s warnings, with the Australian Retailers Association partnering with the ACSC to promote secure online shopping.”

Australians are expected to spend more than $58 billion on pre-Christmas shopping, according to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan, with a significant proportion to come from online sales.

Australians can’t be complacent, with those aged 25-45 making up nearly half of all victims of online shopping fraud.

“Just as Australians are picky about where they shop in the real world, they also need to choose their online stores wisely so they’re not exploited or targeted,” said Assistant Minister Hastie.

“Watch out for cybercriminals who use tricks like selling products that don’t exist, impersonating well-known brands but offering spectacular sales, or asking for personal and payment information they don’t need.

“If an online deal seems too good to be true – it probably is.”

As part of the rolling ‘Act Now, Stay Secure’ cyber security campaign, an online security shopping list for Australians to use ahead of this festive season is available at

“We know from the recent ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21 that the complexity and sophistication of cyber threats continues to rise,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“Australians are expected to spend billions this festive season, the ACSC recommends only buying from trusted sellers, always using secure payment methods such as PayPal or credit card at checkout, and never clicking on a link in an email or SMS to verify an order.”

If you are the victim of an online shopping cybercrime, you should immediately report it to authorities via ReportCyber and contact your bank or financial institution.

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