Scams are on the rise; they can devastate lives and communities. A scam is a word used to describe a fraudulent business or scheme that takes money or other goods unfairly from someone.
Because of our increased reliance on technology there are more opportunities to be scammed and millions of Australian fall victim every year. A person who SCAMS someone is called a scammer. There are thousands of types of scams today, but most boil down to stealing money, property, or information.
Below is a video from Consumer Protection on how to stay safe online. Consumer Protection WA operates Scamnet which gathers information from consumers and businesses and profiles scams that have targeted Western Australians. Consumer Protection identifies the most prevalent scams and provides information to law enforcement agencies here in Australia and overseas. This is why it is so important to report scams.
Scams are not always online. Here is an example where CCLS has helped a client to move forward when scammed in person.
“Andrew” is a 70-year-old. He is indigenous and has a health condition with at times can impair his cognitive ability. Andrew also has low technological literacy. Andrew was approached on the street by a scammer who convinced Andrew to accompany him to the local telco store.
The telco employee dealt mainly with the scammer, and at the end of the transaction put documents and devices in a bag and gave the bag directly to the scammer.
When Andrew later received bills from the telco, he ignored them, as he did not recall having an account with that telco. There was no option to pursue a claim against the scammer as the client had no knowledge of who they were, how to find them.
Andrew contacted CCLS who requested documents from the telco. On review, we determined that an account was opened in Andrew’s name, with three separate mobile phone services that were opened during that interaction with the scammer.
The minimum contracted cost of the services and devices was over $5,000. After additional fees and collection charges, the telco alleged Andrew owed over $8,000. CCLS followed the internal dispute process for the provider and when they were unable to assist further, CCLS lodged a formal complaint with the TIO about the provider’s original conduct after which the provider agreed to waive the debt for “Andrew”.