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If you think you have been scammed please seek assistance where you need it. In the first instance, please contact WA ScamNet to report the scam and for assistance.
If the scam relates to a product or a service, you may have rights under the Australian Consumer Law which can help your case, even if you bought it online.
The following WA ScamNet pages provide useful advice for protecting yourself against scammers:
In some cases, the scam is complex and ellaborate. It can seem so real and victims are caught out giving many thousands of dollars to help their 'friend'. The advice below may help and WA ScamNet provides a list of personal and or financial counselling links on the help for victims page.
If you are a victim of fraud you may find personal and/or financial counselling useful. Some of the services listed on our WA ScamNet help for victims page are free and using others you may be eligible for a rebate.
You can also find a private psychologist via the Australian Psychological Society. If you want to access the Medicare rebates for psychological counselling you will need to choose a psychologist who is a registered Medicare psychology provider. There is a link on the Society’s website that will provide you with this list.
The State Government’s Victim Support Service has a useful website which includes an online directory of service providers. The website explains some of the effects crime can have on a person and will help you understand your rights within the criminal justice systems.
Recognising you have been a victim of consumer fraud can be a devastating personal experience not only in terms of the financial loss but also a sense of betrayal and a loss of trust.
There are a number of simple precautions, however, to help you do not become a victim again.
It is very important you now ensure there is no malicious software on your computer, change your email address and home/mobile phone numbers and close or amend your Facebook or other social media accounts and limit who can access them. If you believe your bank details may have been passed on you should also consider contacting your bank.
In future do not follow any links or call numbers supplied to you in an email. It takes a minute or two more to look up the number in the Yellow Pages or another independent directory service but this may save you following a scammer’s false lead and prevent heartache later on.
Reconsider the personal information you share and post on social/business networking services. Scammers use publicly available information to identify potential victims to groom. Review your social media profile and delete and/or amend your Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter or other accounts so that you do not keep getting requests from individuals associated with the fraud.
If you are reconnecting with your real friends and family online, ensure your security settings on Facebook and other social media are set at the highest privacy level and set a reminder for yourself so that you check them every three to six months. If possible, do not include your own photo on the page; instead use an icon or image of an object to represent yourself. Using a derivation of your name, or a nickname, may also help you to manage your online profile and avoid reconnecting with scammers.
In future do not accept social networking friend or follow requests, or respond to emails, from people you have not met or your friends and family cannot vouch for – the best way to keep scammers out of your life is to never let them in.
Unfortunately there seems to be a trend where once a relationship or investment fraud victim tells the fraudster the game is up, there is a danger they will be targeted by a secondary scam.
Usually victims targeted in secondary scams are contacted by people claiming to be connected to the persona used in the original fraud, such as immigration staff or other officials requesting money associated with the previous scam. Occasionally there may be new declarations of love or offers of investment or even restitution for the money lost.
Some bogus stories which have recently come to light have included:
General advice to help you identify and avoid scams and fraud. Includes contact information for support services.