Fraught fortnight hammers home message

The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce is running a two-week scam-awareness campaign from February 24 to March 8.

State MP for Ballina Don Page said the key message for Fraud Fortnight was to protect yourself.

Increased mobile phone and internet use is providing greater opportunity for unscrupulous people or companies to make fraudulent or misleading offers, Mr Page said.The old saying if it sounds too good to be true it probably is applies more than ever before.

The first week of the campaign focuses on the too good to be true type of scam such as promises of lottery wins or easy money. The second week focuses on identity fraud, such as the scam that targetted Nimbin resident Sue Stock.

Weve all seen the get rich quick types of offers advertised on internet sites and in magazines or newspapers, Mr Page said. Sadly, it is usually the most vulnerable members of the community who are victims of these types of scams.

This campaign is aimed at raising awareness among all members of the community to enable them to protect themselves.

Alex Clarke from PowerMacs Computers in Lismore said there were basic steps people could take to protect themselves when using the internet.

Be extremely sceptical about any unsolicited requests for information, Mr Clarke said. Basically, dont believe all you read, dont trust anyone on the internet, never give your personal details in an email, and certainly never give your credit card details in an email.

Mr Clarke said there were perfectly safe ways to conduct financial transactions on the internet but to remember email was not one of them.

On Monday federal Minister for Consumer Affairs Chris Bowen launched the little black book of scams.

The book highlights the latest scams and gives tips on protection and what to do if you are the victim of a scam.

The NSW Police Fraud squad added its voice of warning.

Scammers use this information to put together a picture of a person so their identity can then be used fraudulently, Detective Superintendent Col Dyson said. Dont make it easy. Your personal information is valuable, so take a bit of care about who gets hold of it.

Anyone who has been the subject of a scam is urged to fill out a survey on the Australian Institute of Criminology website at www.aic.gov.au/research/fraud/acft/survey.html

For more information go to the Taskforce website at www.scamwatch.gov.au or telephone the Taskforce on 1300 795 995.


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