They want your identity, your money and your heart: beware remote community scammers

Photo by Tor Lindstrand. https://www.flickr.com/photos/international-festival/ Used with Creative Commons license Attribution Share-Alike 2.0.

Remote Indigenous communities are being warned to watch out for scammers — including romance tricksters — who have so far this year fleeced them of three million dollars.

As the figure climbs to almost double last year’s losses, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other consumer agencies have stepped up work with Indigenous communities on ways to identify and avoid scams.

A new Too Good to be True project is aiming to educate and empower Indigenous consumers to stay one step ahead.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard told NIT just like the rest of Australia, remote Australia was being targeted by scammers seeking to steal money or identities.

“We’ve done work analysing data to try to identify communities that are losing quite a bit to scams,” she said.

“We’ve gone in and worked with those communities in particulara number of times to get the message out about scams and we’ve seen reductions in losses in those communities.”

Ms Rickard said common scams included prizes and lottery scams, fake romances where people were asked to send money and identity theft.

“You might get an email telling you you have won $10 million in the lottery but then they say to collect your winnings you have to pay that tax and pay that legal fee etcetera,” she said.

“They keep finding reasons to ask you for money. Of course, you never see the money you send off again and you never see the winnings.”

“We’re also seeing identity theft which is the biggest growing scam right across.”

“But the ones where we are seeing the most money lost tend to be romance scams which I think are the worst scams of all because they leave people financially and emotionally broken.”

More information about identifying and avoiding scams is available at www.scamwatch.gov.au.

By Wendy Caccetta

 

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TRA012 TRANBY HOSPITALITY NIT WEB BANNER 685X135 300dpi-1

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