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Online scam robs couple of $5000

Emily AceSouth Western Times

An Australind woman is warning other to be vigilant after her husband was scammed out of more than $5000 after “purchasing” a boat motor from a fraudulent website.

The woman said the elaborate website looked professional, including everything from a money back guarantee statement to a gold lock symbol to signify it was a “secure site”.

“You had to set up an account, he put in an order and he received an email to confirm the order had gone through and that payment was asked for within 12 hours,” she said.

“You could proceed with a credit card or bank transfer and there was a 15 per cent discount for a bank transfer.

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“He took the bank transfer option and transferred the money into an account and there was no further correspondence.”

The couple then made attempts to contact the “business”, but the 1300 number provided was disconnected and emails to the various addresses provided bounced back.

“We are kicking ourselves... it was too good to be true,” the woman said.

“The engineers from my husband’s work were looking at it yesterday and they could not believe it was a scam website.

“In hindsight, we should not have used the bank transfer... if we had have done it through the credit card there would have been a chance at getting the money back through insurance. “I don’t want it to happen to anybody else and it could be potentially happening to people now.”

Consumer protection regional coordinator Annetta Bellingeri warned consumers looking for great deals online this festive season to be aware.

“This year our WA ScamNet team has received reports about fake websites selling everything from toys to barbecues and outboard motors,” she said.

“Often the biggest tip-off that a retail website is a scam is the method of payment.

“Scammers will often ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded money card, direct bank deposit or wire transfer, but if you send your money this way, it’s unlikely you will see it again or receive your purchased item.”

Miss Bellingeri warned shoppers to consider the risks if there is no physical address, phone contact details or ABN.

She also warned there had also been two victims in the South West who lost $20,000 and $8,000 to scams relating to the purchase of iTunes gift vouchers in recent times.

“We would just like to warn people that iTunes vouchers are not a legitimate payment method,” she said.

“Beware of the fake tax office messages... and do not let anyone have access to computer or assist them to supposedly catch scammers.”

Visit www.scamnet.wa.gov.au for more information.

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