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Western Australians are being urged to be on the lookout for threat-based impersonation scams by taking a moment to ‘Stop and check: is this for real?’
This is the theme for this year’s Scams Awareness Week, which runs from 21–25 May 2018.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said scammers might call or email you and pretend to be from a government agency or well-known, trusted business.
“They then use threats to pressure or scare you into giving them your money or personal information,” he said.
“When scammers impersonate government officials, they may say that you owe a tax debt or there are problems with your government benefits, immigration forms or visa status and that you must pay the debt or other fees to fix the issues or you’ll be arrested or deported.
“Scammers also pretend to be from organisations like Telstra, Australia Post or the police. They may ask for remote access to your computer to fix a problem or track down hackers or they may email you fake bills or fines, then threaten to cancel your service or charge you fees if you don’t do what they ask.”
Scams Awareness Week is an initiative of the Scams Awareness Network, a group of Australian and New Zealand government agencies with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in scams, cyber safety and fraud. Consumer Protection in WA is a proud member of this network.
“Network members want to raise awareness about these scams as the scammers and their threats can seem genuine and frightening. They make you feel as if you’ve done something wrong or that there’s some urgency and you must act immediately or suffer the consequences,” Mr Hillyard said.
If anyone receives an unexpected and threatening call or email that seems to be from a government agency or trusted business, they are urged to follow these tips to ‘Stop and check: is this for real?’:
Information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au. Enquiries can be made to Consumer Protection by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org