Scam and safety warnings by Fair Trading Department

Scammers

 

 

 

 

WATCH OUT – SCAMS ABOUT

Romance Scam, Fraud Alert Scam, Bank Refund Scam, Tax Scam, Computer Virus Scam.. even the Indian community is not untouched by all what scammers can do to defraud people. Beware of scammers and their novel ideas to cheat the gullible.

There are increasing reports of a wide variety of scams affecting NSW residents. Current scams include, but are in no way limited to:

Romance scam – Go for love not love of money. Don’t give money to someone you have met online. Be very careful of online romance and all dating services. Get contracts, read the fine print and check what you are getting for your money. Be careful of predators who pose as genuine potential partners. Protect yourself against scammers.

Online car and boat sales scam – These types of scams are widespread and commonly target sellers on online sites where scammers pose as a buyer, using a fake identity. It is common for the scammer to agree to buy the car for sale and then ask the seller to pay a shipping or buyer’s agent fee on their behalf to a Western Union or PayPal account, promising to reimburse the seller by depositing that amount plus the sale price into their account.  Scammers also pose as sellers and advertise nonexistent vehicles. One Maitland resident was saved $4,800 when his local newsagent stopped him transferring money through Western Union for a non-existent boat.

An old Indian gentleman was also stopped by the post office to transfer the fee through Western Union and when he asked about these people the postmaster gave a phone number in Holsworthy supposedly of the scammer. So if you find anything please Report the scam at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.

Water quality survey scam – Tweed residents have received phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the Water Board. The person conducts a quick ‘water quality survey’ and shortly afterwards, the resident is called back and told they have won a water purifier. The scammer then requests payment for the purifier filter and asks for credit card details.

 

Bank refund scam – Fair Trading issues regular warnings to NSW residents about scam callers claiming to be from government agencies including Fair Trading or banks and telling residents they are entitled to a refund on bank fees. The scammers say you have funds owing and that to receive the money, you just need to deposit money for administrative purposes, via Western Union or Ukash.

Scammers often know your personal details, including date of birth, address or bank account details. Fair Trading does not cold call consumers and does not request payment via phone calls. Gosford residents have been the latest to report having received this type of scam call.

Tax scam – With tax return season comes a range of tax scams. The Australian Taxation Office has warned of at least three tax-related scams targeting NSW residents – the telephone call or email offering a tax refund or to minimise your tax or fake Australian Tax Office emails that include attachments that when opened install malware and enable access to personal and financial details.

Computer virus scam – Residents in Queanbeyan and Maitland have reported scam calls about their personal computer. The caller claims to be from a large computer company or legitimate technical service provider and will request remote access to your computer. If you say yes, they run a bogus scan that shows up a fake virus and then they ask you to pay for worthless antivirus software. A further risk in allowing remote access to your computer is theft of your identity and personal and financial details.

Fraud alert scam – A phoney fraud alert can come in the form of an email or a phone call claiming to be from your bank or financial institution. The scammer will usually tell you that your credit card or account has been cancelled because it was involved in criminal activity or because they suspect your card or details have been stolen. This is a trick to get you to given them your account details.

You will be told that a suspicious transaction has recently occurred on your account, perhaps a large purchase in a foreign country. You will be told that if you did not authorise the transaction, you need to take immediate action as your credit card details have been stolen.

The scammer will ask you to confirm your credit card or account details so the ‘bank’ can ‘investigate’. If you receive an email, it may ask you to visit a website to confirm your credit card details or to find out more information on the supposed ‘fraud’ to your account. In some variations of this scam, the scammer may already have your credit card number (that they have stolen previously) and may even quote this to you. They will then ask you to confirm that you are the cardholder by telling them the three or four digit security number printed on the card. If the scammers have this number, they can use your card to buy things over the internet or phone.

These phoney fraud investigations are used to steal your banking details so the scammers can use your account. They work by lowering your guard with the phoney fraud alert. They hope that you panic and do what they suggest to fix the ‘problem’. They are particularly tricky to spot because real banks and credit unions often do contact people if there has been suspicious activity on their account.

Scam puppies for sale – Online classifieds feature photographs of adorable puppies for sale but sometimes these dogs don’t exist. The Hunter district has recently suffered puppy scams.

What to do:

• Don’t respond – Ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phone calls or SMS – press

delete, bin scam mail, don’t let travelling conmen or women into your home, hang up on scam callers and report to authorities.

• Watch out for slick tricks – Scammers use sophisticated tricks to fool you – fake websites, glossy brochures, technical jargon or they pose as someone you know and trust – don’t fall for them.

• Don’t let scammers push your buttons – Scammers will play on your emotions to get what they want.

• Protect your identity – Your personal details are private and invaluable – keep them that way and away from scammers.

• Never respond to out of the blue offers, deals or requests for your personal details. Stop. Take time to independently check the request or offer. Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory to check a request or offer is genuine.

• Don’t open unsolicited emails or text messages from numbers you don’t recognise.

• Never click on a link provided in an unsolicited email as it will lead to a fake website designed to trick you into providing personal details.

• Never use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests or offers as they will connect you to scammers.

• Don’t dial a 0055 or 1900 number unless you are sure you know how much you will be charged.

What to do if you have fallen victim to a scam?

Contact your bank or financial institution immediately and tell them about the scam.

Report the scam at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.

The Scamwatch website has lots of good information on scams, including practical steps to take if you have fallen victim to a specific type of scam.

• Never respond to out of the blue offers, deals or requests for your personal details. Stop. Take time to independently check the request or offer. Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory to check a request or offer is genuine.

• Don’t open unsolicited emails or text messages from numbers you don’t recognise.

• Never click on a link provided in an unsolicited email as it will lead to a fake website designed to trick you into providing personal details.

• Never use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests or offers as they will connect you to scammers.

• Don’t dial a 0055 or 1900 number unless you are sure you know how much you will be charged.

What to do if you have fallen victim to a scam?

Contact your bank or financial institution immediately and tell them about the scam.

Report the scam at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.

The Scamwatch website has lots of good information on scams, including practical steps to take if you have fallen victim to a specific type of scam.

BEWARE – WHEAT BAGS AND GEL HEAT PACKS CAN CAUSE FIRES

NSW Fair Trading and NSW Fire & Rescue are warning people about the risks of using wheat bags or gel heat packs for warming bedding. These products can cause ignition and fires.

Wheat bags and gel heat packs are designed to heat bodies, not beds.

Some people may be tempted to replace hot water bottles with heat packs to heat beds and bedding,  but this is not a safe alternative. Due to diminished strength and in some cases arthritis, some older

Australians may have difficulty in securing the lid of a hot water bottle and scalding is a risk.

Fair Trading suggests people consider using a good quality, approved electric blanket as the safest  alternative to heat bedding. These products are designed specifically for heating bedding and are regulated electrical articles subject to safety tests.

Fair Trading is also warning consumers about the dangers associated with wheat bags marketed to look like plush toys.

These products are available nationally ranging in price from $8 to $20 and in child appealing characters including a lady bug, cow, duck, tiger, pig, hippo, giraffe and puppy dog. There are a number of companies importing such products and they are marketed for children and therefore there is a risk of them being given to children to take to bed to keep them warm.

NSW Fair Trading referred concerns about the supply of child appealing plush toys containing wheat filled heat bags to the national Product Safety Consultative Committee.

Tips for use –

•Don’t overheat the wheat bag or gel heat pack by placing it in the microwave longer than specified by the manufacturer.

•Don’t leave the heat product unsupervised in the microwave.

•Place a glass of water in the microwave when heating wheat bags – so the bag does not dry out or overheat.

•Don’t let anyone, particularly children or the elderly, sleep with a wheat bag or gel heat pack.

•Don’t use the wheat bag to warm your bed up, as it may spontaneously ignite.

•Don’t reheat the wheat bag before it has properly cooled.

•A wheat bag should be cooled down on a non-combustible surface before storing.

Fair Trading mid-winter warming safety checklist:

• Don’t place room heaters too close to furniture, clothing, furnishings, curtains and bedding.

• Don’t allow children or pets to play, stand or sit too close to heaters. Supervise them at all times around heaters.

• Gas heaters must be certified and should be serviced every two years or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If a gas heater produces a pungent odour, a sooty flame or the flame is yellow in colour, stop use it immediately and get it serviced. Faulty or poorly maintained gas appliances can produce deadly carbon monoxide.

• Always have a source of fresh air entering the room when using an un-flued gas heater.

• Check electric heaters are free from dust and have intact power cords and plugs. Older style heaters with rusted reflectors or frames can cause hot spots and be a source of danger.

• When buying electrical products, check they carry the required safety approval mark. Check marks on the Fair Trading website.

• Only use appropriately licensed installers of fixed heating appliances. Do a licence check on

tradespeople on the Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.

• Electric blankets should be checked each winter for any faults or fraying cords.

• Only buy hot water bottles that carry the mandatory label: WARNING – Hot water bottles

can cause burns. Avoid prolonged direct contact with the skin. Ideally, buy new hot water

bottles every winter.

• Avoid using old wheat bags and never use them as a bed warmer.

• Choose children’s nightwear that has information about fire danger on its label

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Posted by on Jul 15 2013. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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