With holiday season shopping in full swing, and the Boxing Day sales just around the corner, Australians are being urged to take care when shopping online to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
It comes as around $150,000 in losses to shopping and investment scams are reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) per day, with each cybercrime reported costing the victim over $5,000 on average.
The centre leads the Australian Government’s efforts to improve cyber security and make Australia the most secure place to connect online, while monitoring cyber threats across the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said while online shopping is a convenient way for many Australians to get what they need, grab a bargain and avoid the crowds, it also carries considerable risk if done without care.
“If you are shopping online this festive season, be aware that cybercriminals do not take holidays. They can strike from anywhere at any time in a bid to steal your money and personal information,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The internet has revolutionised shopping, and cybercriminals have revolutionised their craft using tricks such as selling products that don’t exist, asking for personal and payment information they don’t need, and installing malware on your device.
“As part of the ongoing cyber security campaign I launched earlier this month, the Australian Cyber Security Centre has released updated advice to help Australians avoid the risks of shopping online.”
The Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, Ms Abigail Bradshaw CSC urged online shoppers to adopt the ACSC’s cyber security advice to help mitigate against the risks.
“If you are a victim of cybercrime you are unlikely to get your money back once payment is made, so it is important to spend a little time checking our tips before spending and possibly losing your money,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“As outlined in the ACSC advice, after you’ve made a purchase you still need to remain vigilant, as cybercriminals can target you even if you’ve bought from a legitimate website.”
Simple steps to protect yourself this festive season include:
- Make sure your device software is up to date;
- Use multi-factor authentication for your email, banking and shopping accounts;
- Stick to well-known and trusted brands;
- Use secure payment methods;
- Be aware of fake sellers; and
- Be cautious when buying on social media platforms.
ACSC’s online shopping tips and other information are available at cyber.gov.au and Australians are encouraged to follow ACSC on social media for the latest information.
Cybercrime can be reported through ReportCyber, which is managed by the ACSC on behalf of law enforcement agencies, providing a single online portal for individuals and businesses to report cyber incidents.