Kimberley businesses targeted in advertising scam

Information status

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Consumer Protection and the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) have issued a joint warning to businesses in the Kimberley following reports of a possible advertising scam.

Several businesses and Aboriginal corporations have been cold-called recently by people claiming to represent numerous publications and demanding payment for advertising that was not authorised.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the publications being promoted appear to be of poor quality and unlikely to be distributed to anyone.

“The promoters of these publications claim that they are affiliated with legitimate community organisations, which may not be the case,” Ms Driscoll said.

“The promoters target junior staff who are coerced into signing advertising contracts under the belief that the advertising has been approved by supervisors. They then harass staff to pay invoices for advertising in dubious publications, threatening to take legal action or involve police if payment is not made.

“While we are investigating these reports, we would like to warn businesses in the Kimberley to be aware of these unsolicited approaches and to exercise caution before making any commitments to advertise or paying invoices for unauthorised advertising.”

Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said busy small business operators can be easy targets for scammers if they don’t have effective systems or processes in place.

“It’s important for all businesses to take the time to ensure their staff have the knowledge they need to follow established purchasing and payment processes, and to recognise when something isn’t right,” Mr Eaton said.

“The SBDC has a workshop tailored specifically to help small business owners understand why systems are important, and how to recognise priority areas in their business.”

For more information and advice, consumers can contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or by email: consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au Businesses can contact the Small Business Development Corporation on 131249 or by email: info@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au.

END OF RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Alan Hynd – Consumer Protection 9282 0961 or 0429-078791
alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

Di Graham – SBDC 6552 3218 or 0432-750565
diane.graham@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
30 Aug 2013

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