Scammer alert for festive seasonMedia Release
Fake websites, bogus purchases and identity theft are scams Geelong region locals should guard against this holiday season, Corangamite MP Libby Coker warned today.
“In a year where the volume of scams has skyrocketed, the festive season is a time to be especially cautious,” Ms Coker said at a community meeting on scams she hosted at the Grovedale Football Netball Club.
Victoria Police Leading Senior Constable Robbie Noggler shared tips for avoiding scams. Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones MP talked about Labor’s plan to better combat scammers.
“I know from people who are coming to my office having been caught up in scams that this problem impacts people of all ages and social groups,” Ms Coker said.
“Scams can be diverse in nature, including fake phone warnings and gift offers, sham crypto-currency transactions, false invoicing and many other sneaky schemes.
“Scammers have become good at playing on people’s vulnerabilities in a cruel predatory manner. I’m hearing stories of local people losing tens of thousands of dollars.
“Christmas is a time when people are often frantically busy, buying more than normal and in different ways than normal. They’re especially vulnerable to scammers.”
Leading Senior Constable Robbie Noggler warned people not to become complacent.
Among other measures, he cautioned not to use the same password across various accounts, not to give out personal information over the phone and never open links on unsolicited SMS texts and emails He said hang up on unsolicited callers offering incentives or offers; never engage in conversation with them.
Mr Jones said scams were costing the Australian families and businesses $33 billion a year.
“There’s nothing new about scams and frauds, but there has been something new over the last 12 months. We've seen scams grow. Not by just 20 or 30 percent; we’ve seen them quadruple,” Mr Jones said.
He said many Australians for the first time in their lives had done much of their shopping on-line during the pandemic, making them perfect targets for online scammers.
He said people deserve to have governments and business working together to cut off scams at source.
Federal Labor’s five-point plan to combat scammers includes:
- A National Anti-Scam Centre bringing together law enforcement, banks, telcos, consumer affairs advocates and regulators to respond to scams in real-time
- Tough new mandatory industry codes to make social media companies, banks and telcos responsible for choking off scams
- Increased funding for victim recovery services so consumers and small business owners can get their lives back on track quicker
- Penalties to increase the consequences for would-be scammers
- a Minister with direct portfolio responsibility for scams.
Ms Coker urged people to be vigilant and monitor the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) ScamWatch website for the latest scams, how to avoid them and how to report them: scamwatch.gov.au