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What is an Online Shopping scam?

An online shopping scam is when scammers trick shoppers into purchasing popular branded goods. More often than not, your order will never be delivered, while in other circumstances the items you receive will be a counterfeit or of poor quality.

Scammers will lure customers by creating fake websites, ads or social media profiles that closely resemble a well-known or popular store, or even pose as a seller on legitimate sites like Amazon.

Examples of scams*

Sarah decided to purchase a BBQ after finding the item heavily discounted on an online shopping website. While on the checkout page she saw the fine print stating that all credit card payments would incur a 2.99% fee. However, if she were to pay via direct transfer, not only would there be no surcharge but she would also receive a 5% discount on top of the already low advertised price. She opted for that payment method.


A few days later, she received an email from the retailer advising her that her order could not be fulfilled due to a logistics issue. The email went on to say that her order would be cancelled and she would receive a full refund. Unfortunately, her money was never refunded and her emails were never responded to.

Signs this may be a scam

Price too good to be true.

If an online site or social media post offers a popular or branded product at a highly discounted price, especially with a time limit, this should be an immediate red flag.

URL name is abnormal.

Always double check the address of the site you’re shopping in as scammers will try to make the URL of their fake website look as identical as possible to the real site.

Unusual payment methods.

If you’re asked to pay for your purchase via uncommon online shopping methods - such as money order, wire transfer, or crypto currency - this is likely a scam.

Insufficient information or typos.

Avoid online retailers that do not display details about themselves such as their T&Cs, ABN, trading history (e.g., About us), or if their site has multiple obvious typos.

What you can do if you
come across a scam

Let us know

  • If you’ve sent a payment to a scam seller or scam website, or would like to report a scam or suspicious activity, contact Westpac immediately at 132 032 or +61 2 9155 7700 (if calling from overseas).
  • If you believe an online shopping site to be fraudulent, report it to ACCC's Scamwatch. Or if you think a social media post/seller could be a scam, report it to the social media platform.
  • You can also report all suspicious activity to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at

Get support and stay in the know

Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check in the Westpac App.

Things you should know

* Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes, real names have not been used.