WATCH OUT FOR NEWSPAPER, ONLINE AD AND TELEPHONE SCAMS IN THE CLAYTON ELECTORATE

WATCH OUT FOR NEWSPAPER, ONLINE AD AND TELEPHONE SCAMS IN THE CLAYTON ELECTORATE

Posted on 22. Sep, 2010 in Clayton Update

Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson today warned Victorians in the Clayton electorate to watch out for con artists advertising non-existent goods in local newspapers and online.

Mr Robinson said Consumer Affairs Victoria had received a spike in calls from the southern suburbs, all reporting a scam advertisement for a caravan.

“The Brumby Labor Government is standing up for all Victorians by making sure they can identify scams and take action so they don’t become victims of fraud or lose their hard-earned money,” he said.

“Scammers are advertising non-existent goods, hoping to fleece you with the lure of their so-called bargain.

“Con artists are advertising anything from puppies to concert tickets, cars and, in the most recent scam we’ve identified, caravans.”

Mr Robinson advised consumers not to buy something sight unseen from strangers because it was always risky – particularly over the internet.

“The internet can make shopping much more convenient, but also provides fraudsters with many new opportunities to try and scam you,” he said.

“Consumers should be aware that sometimes scammers hijack other people’s advertisements, online seller or feedback profiles to fool you into believing they are reputable.

“If you can, always verify who you are dealing with and inspect the goods, or get someone independent to do the inspection for you.”

Mr Robinson said consumers should take some simple precautions to reduce the risk of being scammed:

  • Don’t give out bank or financial details to anyone you don’t know or trust;
  • Only shop online through secure websites;
  • Research the prices of products you are interested in buying, so you have a sense of whether the advertised price is actually a bargain.  Unusually cheap prices may also signal a scam; and
  • If you do get scammed, notify the advertiser immediately so they can remove the advertisement.

 Clayton MP Hong Lim said that yesterday his office received a call from a local resident advising that a company reportingly to be from North Sydney offering to lodge their telephone number on the ‘Do Not Call Register’ and requested their credit card details.

“The Do Not Call Register is a free service and you call 1300 792 958 on the number you wish to place on the register and follow the recorded message.”

“Scams and scammers often sound genuine.  But don’t be fooled – always remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Mr Lim said.

In the last financial year, nearly 4,400 Victorians dobbed in a scam to the state’s consumer watchdog, Consumer Affairs Victoria.

For more information about scams or to dob-in a suspected scam, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on                   1300 55 81 81 or visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au

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