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The latest scams in the lead up to Christmas

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Be aware of the latest scams catching Australians

Because of the immense pressure on a person’s finances during the festive months, the year’s end is an opportune time for unlawful scamming activity. Here are three of the latest scams you should be aware of.

1. Heartbreakingly cute pet scams

The essence of this is luring customers into “buying” pets that don't exist using cute photos and back-stories. Classic heartstring tugging. 

According to the Police, “criminals use free websites, trading or selling sites, local newspapers and social media to advertise expensive puppies including bulldogs and toy breeds at very low prices.” The seller might then explain they’ve moved interstate and require upfront payment for relocation and medical costs to secure the sale.

The bottom line is also hard-line: if the price of a pedigree pooch seems too good to be true, it likely is. Never engage in a bank transfer with a stranger. If an offer seems truly legitimate and you are paying online, the seller will provide a PayPal option which ensures your security. If not, do not opt in. 

2. Supermarket gift card scams 

Earlier in the month, text messages were circulating that claimed recipients had won $1000 or $2000 gift cards to either Coles or Woolworths, as part of something scammers called “our Customer of the Month” program. From here, “customers” were prompted to follow a link to external websites to complete a form with their personal details. 

3. The call-back scam 

Regarded a sophisticated phone scam helmed by South African opportunists, this involves being called at an inconvenient hour and for a short ring time. Upon returning the missed call, victims are charged extremely high international charges via a toll number set up by the scammers. 

Overarching lessons?