Locals fall prey to con artists

CON artists are finding rich pickings among the citizens of the Northern Rivers – victims of a spike in the number of credit card and internet rorts statewide.

“Frauds are definitely on the increase,” said Senior Constable Michael Hogan, of the Richmond Local Area Command’s Crime Prevention division.

“It’s a case of ‘buyer beware’,” Snr Const Hogan said.

“The onus is on the individual to be shrewd when buying items over the internet and to regularly check their bank statements.”

“If you are going to buy things from an internet warehouse, stay within the site’s guidelines,” Snr Const Hogan said.

“Police recommend users of internet sites go through authorised payment systems such as Paypal, where your funds are guaranteed.”

Credit card owners who make overseas purchases through the internet should be extra vigilant.

Snr Const Hogan said police were seeing a lot of frauds associated with banks that are not Australian-based ‘and it is impossible for us to trace the money once it has gone into an account overseas’.

“A serious warning goes out where users are asked to send electronic monies through external bank branches such as Western Union Bank of Nigeria,” he said.

One young Caniaba man ignored the guidelines and was fleeced of $5500 after he tried to buy a car over the internet in mid-August.

Later that month, fraudsters with a different approach accessed the credit card of a 53-year-old woman from The Channon.

Police were able to pinpoint the offenders as being based in the United States, but were unable to retrieve the funds.

Identity theft is another booming crime.

Earlier this month, a 20-year-old Ballina woman had her credit card defrauded of $1000 after it was sent to her previous address.

Snr Const Hogan said people should change their address details immediately after they relocate and try to personally pick up credit cards from their banks.


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