SCAM AWARENESS WEEK: Queenslanders encouraged to talk about scams

SCAMS are becoming more sophisticated, more frequents and more people are falling victim to them.

conceptual photo of a money scam
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

That’s the warning from Queensland Attorney General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman.

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Minister Fentiman is urging people to be more aware of scams and talk about their experiences amongst friends and colleagues.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Scams Awareness Week.

Minister Fentiman said scams had become big business.

“By the end of August, Scamwatch had received over 190,000 reports from Australian consumers who had lost over $192-million this year – that is a 95 per cent increase in losses since this time last year,” she said.

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“The goal for this year’s campaign is to talk about scams and help to remove the shame from people who have fallen victim.

“I want to remind Queenslanders that a simple conversation can help stop a friend, a loved one, a colleague, or even yourself from falling victim to a similar scam.

“We need people talking, sharing their stories, and raising awareness about scams, as this not only helps to reduce stigma around the topic but can prevent scams from happening in the first place, or help people get out of a scam sooner.”

Minister Fentiman said scams were rife and most people had encountered a scam in one form of another.

The Queensland Government used the launch of Scam Awareness Week to share the story of a woman who nearly fell victim to a scam after placing an advert online seeking a private rental.

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“A lady reached out to me asking for my private email address and then offered me a house to rent,” the woman said.

“She sent me lease forms and asked me to pay a bond. She said she would give me the keys for the house.

“I had a bad feeling as the house was also listed online so I contacted the real estate and explained the situation and they advised me that the lady is not the owner of the property.”

The Attorney-General said scammers are quick to take advantage of crises and they have been targeting consumers during the pandemic with a multitude of COVID-related scams.

“Since the start of the year the Office of Fair Trading has received 175 complaints about scams totalling more than $276,000 in losses,” she said.

“The top scam complaints have been for online shopping scams, investment scams and puppy scams.

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“If you think someone you know is being, or has been, targeted by scammers, try to speak to them about it.

“It’s not uncommon for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed if they find they have fallen victim to a scam, so reassure them that this isn’t their fault and that scammers use devious tactics that can trick anyone.”

Information on scams, including tips on how to protect yourself against scams can be found here.

Scam Awareness Week runs from 8 to 12 November 2021.

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