Scam victims on the rise across State

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Scammers are everywhere, including right here in the South West.
Camera IconScammers are everywhere, including right here in the South West.

New figures released this week revealed WA was scammed out of more than $10 million in 2018, with scammers lurking everywhere including the South West, according to Consumer Protection regional coordinator Annetta Bellingeri.

The increase of more than 30 per cent compared to 2017 also came with an increase in the number of victims reporting losses, up 42 per cent from 2017 to 569 people, according to WA ScamNet’s figures.

Ms Bellingeri said scammers had been becoming more professional, sophisticated and legitimate looking as they evolved.

“They are changing their scams all the time so they can keep drawing in new victims,” she said.

“We do still see the same scams doing the rounds at particular times of year, for instance the tax scam and the NBN scam going around at the moment.”

Job and investment scams claimed more than $4.5 million last year, followed by dating and romance scams which claimed almost $3 million.

Buying and selling scams affected the most amount of people with 279 victims, including an Australind couple who lost $5000 after ordering a boat motor from a fraudulent website.

An elderly Bunbury man was fleeced of $35,000 in February last year when scammers posed as Telstra consultants and asked for his help in catching a scammer who had tried to infiltrate his internet banking.

Another Bunbury man lost $15,000 in April after being told his mobile plan had been transferred from Telstra to Vodaphone, with scammers hacking his email account and phone, stealing authorisation codes to make big transactions out of his account.

Ms Bellingeri said there was plenty people could do to protect against scammers, including understanding the privacy and security settings on social media.

“Make sure your online details are secure, choose your passwords carefully, change them, don’t use the same passwords for all your accounts and be wary of any out of the blue contact,” she said.

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