Queenslanders, let’s talk scams!

Published Monday, 08 November, 2021 at 02:00 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman is encouraging Queenslanders to be aware about scams, with the launch of national Scams Awareness Week today.

“Scams are big business. And they’re becoming more sophisticated, more frequent, and more people fall are falling victim to them,” Minister Fentiman said.

“By the end of August, Scamwatch had received over 190,000 reports from Australian consumers who had lost over $192 million this year - that is a 95 per cent increase in losses since this time last year.

“The goal for this year’s campaign is to talk about scams and help to remove the shame from people who have fallen victim.

“I want to remind Queenslanders that a simple conversation can help stop a friend, a loved one, a colleague, or even yourself from falling victim to a similar scam.

“We need people talking, sharing their stories, and raising awareness about scams, as this not only helps to reduce stigma around the topic but can prevent scams from happening in the first place, or help people get out of a scam sooner.

“Scams are rife, and most people have encountered a scam in one form of another.”

A Queenslander recently described how she nearly fell victim to a scam after placing an advert on Gumtree seeking a private rental.

“A lady reached out to me asking for my private email address and then offered me a house to rent,” the consumer said.

“She sent me lease forms and asked me to pay a bond. She said she would give me the keys for the house.

“I had a bad feeling as the house was also listed online so I contacted the real estate and explained the situation and they advised me that the lady is not the owner of the property.”

The Attorney-General said scammers are quick to take advantage of crises and they have been targeting consumers during the pandemic with a multitude of COVID-related scams.

"Since the start of the year the OFT have received 175 complaints about scams totalling more than $276,000 in losses,” she said.

“The top scam complaints have been for online shopping scams, investment scams and puppy scams.

“If you think someone you know is being, or has been, targeted by scammers, try to speak to them about it.

“It’s not uncommon for people to feel ashamed or embarrassed if they find they have fallen victim to a scam, so reassure them that this isn’t their fault and that scammers use devious tactics that can trick anyone.”

Information on scams, including tips on how to protect yourself against scams can be found on the Office of Fair Trading website.

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Media contact:                                       Inga Williams          0439 949 719

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This year, Scams Awareness Week will take place on 8 to 12 November 2021. The theme for the week is ‘Let’s talk scams’.

Scams Awareness Week is an annual education and awareness initiative of the Scams Awareness Network. The network is made up of government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in the areas of scams, cyber safety, and fraud.

The Office of Fair Trading is the Queensland regulator for consumer protection.

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