Fraud Week: Dubbo scammed in 2016

Scams cost Dubbo region residents $18,390 in 2016 - and that's just the crimes that were reported.
Scams cost Dubbo region residents $18,390 in 2016 - and that's just the crimes that were reported.

Residents of the 2830 postcode were scammed to the tune of $18,390 in 2016, but Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Delia Rickard said many incidents of the crime would be going unreported.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch and Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received 280 reports of scamming from the 2830 postcode, with 11 people losing money.

The most costly for Dubbo region residents were so-called reclaim scams; a person receives an email or phone call, claiming to be from a reputable organisation, asking them to repay money they owe.

Across Australia, Scamwatch and ACORN received a combined 200,000 reports about scams, with losses totalling $299.8 million, according to the ACCC’s annual Targeting Scams report.

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

“People in Dubbo are susceptible to the same scams as everyone else,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“This Fraud Week, we’re asking the millions of Australians who use social media to be aware that scammers are increasingly using social media platforms as a way to contact, trick and prey upon the unsuspecting.”

Dating and romance and fake trader scams were the most common reported to Scamwatch, with around 30 per cent of dating and romance scam victims (1352 people) contacted via social media sites.

“Dating and romance scammers trick their victims into falling in love with them and then use their victim’s trust to deceitfully take their money,” Ms Rickard said.

“If someone you’ve met through social media but you’ve never met in person asks you for money, your alarm bells should be ringing. Don’t ever wire transfer or send money to someone you don’t know because you won’t see it again.”

Fake trader scams are also on the increase. Victims often report seeing advertisements for online stores on social media selling discounted products made by well-known brands. These online stores are fake and the products victims think they are buying don’t exist.

“Wherever you see an offer that seems more generous than normal, do your research on the company, where the product is coming from, check the company’s website and try and find any reviews about the business before making a purchase. Only pay using secure payment methods such as Paypal or a credit card,” Ms Rickard said.

For more information about avoiding scams, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au