Driv­ing out on­line fraud

NT News - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL POTTINGER www.nt­news.com.au

ONE IN 20 Aus­tralians are caught by scams and about twothirds of con­sumer fraud now oc­curs on­line, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralasian Con­sumer Fraud Task­force.

While much would-be fraud is the ob­vi­ous work of am­a­teurs, such schemes are gain­ing in fre­quency and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to task­force chair­man Peter Kell, also Aus­tralian Competition and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion deputy chair­man.

has joined forces with ACFT, a group of 21 Aus­tralian and New Zealand gov­ern­ment agen­cies, to raise aware­ness of on­line fraud dur­ing Na­tional Con­sumer Fraud Week, which starts on Mon­day.

Backed by more than 120 metropoli­tan, sub­ur­ban and re­gional News Lim­ited news­pa­pers, is Aus­tralia’s big­gest au­to­mo­tive brand. ‘‘On­line safety is an is­sue takes ex­tremely se­ri­ously,’’

pub­lisher Sue Klose said. ‘‘We are con­stantly work­ing with our on­line coun­ter­parts and gov­ern­ment agen­cies to com­bat this in­dus­try is­sue. By part­ner­ing with the Con­sumer Fraud Task­force, we aim to help ed­u­cate and em­power peo­ple with prac­ti­cal tools and in­for­ma­tion so they can buy and sell on­line with con­fi­dence.

‘‘ Safety Cen­tre at Cars­guide.com.au fea­tures a very use­ful guide to help pro­tect users against fraud.’’

On the front­line is Clarissa Pit­sikas, the scourge of the few frauds fool­ish enough to try it on the web­site.

Clarissa per­son­ally ver­i­fies 30 to 40 on­line ad­ver­tise­ments from buy­ers each day and ad­vises cus­tomers who call with ex­am­ples of email in­quiries they suspect.

‘‘Usu­ally I can tell sim­ply by look­ing at the word­ing. They tend to be very sim­i­lar,’’ she says. They say ‘I’m over­seas. I’m buy­ing this for my fa­ther-in­law’. They want to pay through PayPal or West­ern Union.

‘‘Any­one want­ing to buy sight un­seen, for­get about it.’’

She has a bulging folder of banned in­ter­net ad­dresses and suspect ad­ver­tis­ers. Equally, suspect sell­ers get the third de­gree.

‘‘If it looks le­git­i­mate I call ev­ery sin­gle caller to ver­ify ev­ery sin­gle de­tail,’’ she says.

‘‘If they don’t add up, I can­cel their ad. I check ad­dresses ... if it’s an in­valid ad­dress, phone num­ber or the car is sus­pi­ciously un­der mar­ket value, I can­cel it. If there’s is an in­con­sis­tency, I call and email ask­ing they call back.

‘‘Nine times out of 10, they don’t, so I can­cel the ad. If they can’t ver­ify the reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, email ad­dress, colour of the car, it’s a give­away.’’

The ACCC’s SCAMwatch web­site has more in­for­ma­tion. Visit www.scamwatch.gov.au

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.