Police are urging caution for Coast shoppers when buying online after a number of residents were caught out in scams.
A review of the current fraud statistics revealed 65-70 per cent of reported frauds related to online fraud scams.
Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch acting officer in charge Craig Mansfield said the current rate of fraud was steady, but police were expecting to see an increase leading into Christmas.
“Puppy scams are one of the greatest ones and identity theft and then perpetuation fraud after that,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mansfield said.
“It’s things where people are providing their identification photographs of their drivers licence and sending that to other people to show some form of legitimacy as to who they are and those drivers licences are going on to be used to get credit card applications.”
Senior Sergeant Mansfield said website’s used by hackers could be sophisticated.
“They do look professional,” he said.
“You can do some website browser checks, they will tell you what domain they are from, try and get some reviews on the company you are buying from.
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“Do a little bit of due-diligence in what you’re looking at online and try and do those face-to-face checks if you can.
“If you don’t know the website at least do a couple searches to try and find some legitimacy around it.
“Exercise caution instead of transferring money into people’s accounts.”
Sen-Sgt Mansfield said puppy fraudsters were following up initial money transfers with a call requesting delivery payments.
He said they sometimes then told the victim the pet was in poor health and required an extra fee in order for the pet to be processed through customs.
“They will never ever let you go and get the dog, they will always insist on delivering,” Sen-Sgt Mansfield said.
“If they are insisting on delivery to you it’s more than likely a scam.”
He said some steps to minimising risk of being scammed when buying a puppy included using Australia websites and using a local breeder.
“If you can’t see the dog or inspect it, don’t buy it.
“If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is a scam.”
He said people could also insist on a video call with the seller and look for significant discrepancies in the background of images.
The warning comes after 33 reports of counterfeit $50 across the Coast in the past four months.
Sen-Sgt Mansfield said the notes were predominantly in the southern part of the Coast.
“People are passing them in those high-volume places like bars, restaurants, and small businesses who are receiving multiple 50 notes in one transaction and one of them might be fake,” he said.