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Tel: 1300 30 40 54
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With Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
Consumer Protection WA is a proud supporter of Fraud Week, which this year starts on the 15th of May and aims to help social media users learn how to spot a scam.
Social media profiles often display a lot of personal information, such as your photos, where you have been lately, a record of life events, who you’re connected to and more. All of these details give scammers the flexibility to shape their methods and communications to match your interests and use of social media. This means that their bogus offers and approaches can be harder for you to spot than scam emails and phone calls.
Social media is a common first point of contact for romance scammers. They may have a fake profile they use to send you a friend request. The initial message may compliment your picture or suggest they have something in common with you based on their snooping of your profile. The scam then proceeds with quick expressions of affection, a desire to meet, then complications (a reason preventing them from seeing you) and finally, a request for money.
Scammers also draw on the advertising potential in social media to target victims. Fake trader scammers set up temporary business profiles advertising very cheap products and linking through to their phoney shopping website. You buy goods thinking you’ve grabbed a bargain but you never receive anything or if you do, it’s fake and of poor quality. They might also create fake versions of real businesses and use these to run competitions or surveys to collect your personal information. If you share these scam promotions you are putting friends and family you’re connected with on social media at risk.
It can be hard to tell the difference between genuine profiles or ads on social media and the fake profiles or bogus traders you may encounter. So, here are some tips:
Visit the nationally-run (ACCC) Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au/fraudweek2017 or Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet www.scamnet.wa.gov.au for more on how to protect yourself from social media scams and what to do if you’ve been scammed.
Fraud Week is an annual initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce, a group of government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand that work alongside private sector, community and non-government partners to prevent fraud.