Col Gale of Ballina holds a copy of the letter he received in the mail requesting money.
Col Gale of Ballina holds a copy of the letter he received in the mail requesting money. Jem Wilson

eBay scam bid fails to fool Col

A BALLINA resident has avoided being duped by a new scam letter asking him to pay a fee for an unpaid eBay debt.

Col Gale said he wasn't fooled by the letter of demand asking him to pay $49.56 within 48 hours.

"I hadn't purchased any- thing since June so I thought something was odd," Mr Gale said.

"I got straight on to eBay and my account shows a zero balance so I thought it must be a scam. Then I looked at the address which says Ballina ACT 2478, but Ballina is not in the ACT."

The request came on a letterhead from a law firm and requested all payments be made to another com- pany.

An eBay representative said the company was investigating the matter.

Mr Gale said it was clear the scam was created to trap people who may have used eBay.

"Obviously somebody has got hold of half of the information and thought, if we send out 1000 (letters) and 100 people just give us the $49 then we're well in front."

A NSW Fair Trading representative said if a bill relating to a transaction was legiti- mate, the first notice received would not arrive in the form of a demand for payment on a legal letterhead. The representative said "eBay, Microsoft, Western Union and various Australian financial institutions" were just a few of the many legitimate businesses which had their names used by scammers.

"Scammers are often cunning and expert at baiting their hook in a way that looks plausible and legitimate," the representative said. "They are quick to seize upon new opportunities to rip people off, so as online shopping and bill payments become increasingly popular there will be a corresponding rise in scams piggybacking on the new markets."

Mr Gale said people should be wary about any unsolicited correspondence requesting money.

"Even on my emails I'm getting scams every day saying ring now and go to this address and I never ever go to them. I go back to the original website to check."

Information on scams is available on the Fair Trading website at: www.fairtrading .nsw.gov.au.



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