Scammers are ripping us off $90 million annually

SAVVY scammers are ripping Australians off at least $90 million annually and have even managed to con NSW Fair Trading.

Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox visited Ballina and Goonellabah yesterday to attend NSW Fair Trading sessions for seniors on scams and consumer rights.

"They are really good. We've had offices in Fair Trading fall for it. That's how good they are," he said. "These people have no shame. They will do whatever they need to play on people's good will for their own ends."

Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox
Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox

"We had one recently in Sydney where this family with a disabled child with cystic fibrosis (had) advertised on Gumtree, a reputable online site, a ring they wanted to sell to invest in treatment for their child," he said. "And the person came across to their home, met them and even nursed the child, then gave them the fake payment advice, took the goods and left them with nothing."

Mr Mason-Cox said seniors were often targeted by scammers because they were more trusting.

"It's a generation where they're honest and I think these people play on that," he said. "They naturally look at things optimistically and I think they are targeted for that reason.

"The last thing we want is for these people to be taken advantage of and these scammers are very sophisticated, very clever and they'll pick up the latest issue and run with it.

"We asked people (at the seminars) 'has anybody contacted you by phone or email looking for money or bank details or information' and every hand went up in the room."

The most common scams are relationship scams and emails seeking cash or personal information, often seemingly from a reputable source.

For more information, or to report a scam, visit http://www.scamwatch.gov.au or call the SCAMwatch ACCC Infocentre on 1300 795 995.



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