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Shoppers warned against scams ahead of Black Friday, holiday shopping season

By Shannon Williams, Tue 23 Nov 2021

Almost a fifth of New Zealanders have experienced a scamming event when shopping online, according to new research from the Domain Name Commission. 

With Black Friday just days away, online shopping is expected to spike and as a result, more people are likely to fall victim to scams. 

The Domain Name Commission's new research shows just under a fifth of New Zealanders - at 18% - report they have been scammed shopping online. And a further 11% say they have almost been scammed.

Assistant Domain Name Commissioner, Isobel Egerton, says the research asked New Zealanders how much they are shopping online, how they are keeping themselves safe and how often they are being scammed.

"What I find most worrying is that, among those who have been scammed, 28% of people said they have been scammed 2-3 times," says Egerton.

More than half of online shoppers here in New Zealand are shopping online more than they were 12 months ago. This is not surprising due to COVID-19.

"With more of us shopping online more often, we need to know how to keep safe and how to spot a scam," says Egerton.

Nearly a quarter of New Zealanders - at 24% - are worried about whether the online store they are looking at is genuine. 

Egerton says there are things we are doing now to safeguard ourselves.
Over half of us are looking for a padlock on the website address that indicates a secure https website. The same amount of people are also checking the site for bad spelling and grammar.

The research found some 40% of New Zealanders check to see if the website address is a .nz domain. And 61% say they are more likely to buy from a .nz website address.

"To keep the .nz online space trusted and secure, the Domain Name Commission identifies fake online stores, validates the owners' contact details and suspends .nz domain names that violate the rules," says Egerton.

"These checks result in fake .nz online stores being shut down," he says.

"We’re running our annual ShopSafe NZ campaign right now. We give New Zealander's top tips to help them spot a .nz website that might be a scam.

"We also list New Zealand company scam alerts in one handy spot so you know what scams are in circulation," says Egerton.

"Shopping online — it’s something most of us do regularly. It’s fast and convenient, but there is the possibility that the item you just purchased isn’t genuine, or won’t arrive, or worse, your details are stolen."

The Domain Name Commission was appointed by InternetNZ to develop and monitor a competitive registrar market, as well as create a fair environment for the registration and management of .nz domain names.

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