Commissioner's Blog: Watch out for Kimberley flood scams
People in flood-affected communities in the Kimberley and generous West Australians wanting to help with donations, are being warned to be on the lookout for opportunistic scammers trying to steal money in the wake of this disaster.
Scammers were posing as legitimate registered charity - Leedal Foundation Limited - in Fitzroy Crossing, using a fake Instagram account in their name, asking donors to buy Amazon ecards.
The real Leedal Foundation Limited does not have an Instagram account but have been raising funds through their Facebook page for people who have lost their homes in Fitzroy Crossing.
Scammers targeted people who had already donated on Leedal Foundation Limited’s Facebook page, sending them a private message through the fake Instagram page, and thanking them for their donation.
When donors replied, scammers then lured potential victims in by asking if they would like to further assist by purchasing Amazon ecards to go directly to flood-affected victims. WA ScamNet has had this fake page shut down.
To avoid being scammed ensure your donation goes to the intended cause, only donate to licensed charities or official fundraisers like the Lord Mayor's Distress Relief Fund.
Scammers are also targeting people in the Kimberley, posing as their real friends by sending a Facebook message, asking if they have received their $20,000 flood relief money yet.
On reply, the scammers send a link to a fake Facebook page using images of a Serbian politician, telling people to add him as a friend and send a message asking for the $20,000.
If people make contact with the fake agent, this will likely result in scammers asking for personal information - such as bank account details - to steal money.
The real friend who originally messaged was likely hacked by scammers, or a new Facebook account was created in their name.
Consumers should be on the lookout for new friend requests and language used by friends and if unsure, call or text the friend to check if the message is truly from them.
If you receive a text, email, phone call or social media message from someone you don’t know, it is important to practice the pause… and think, could this be a scam?
If you have lost money to a scam or become aware of one, report it to WA ScamNet online or call 1300 30 40 54. Further information and downloadable Kimberley flood scam resources can be found on the WA ScamNet website: https://scamnet.wa.gov.au/Kimberleyscams
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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