Phone businesses' identities stolen for Facebook scams

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019

Phone businesses' identities stolen for Facebook scams

The identities of four Perth mobile phone businesses have been stolen and used in Facebook scams, the Government of Western Australia’s (WA) Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) warns.

According to the DMIRS, the companies’ logos, ABNs, contacts and other details are being used in fraudulent Facebook Marketplace ads which feature mobile phones for sale at heavily discounted prices.

Buyers who respond to the ads are taken to a fake Facebook page where they communicate directly with the scammers who demand upfront payment but never deliver the phones.

As a result, legitimate businesses have been getting calls and even visits from people demanding their phones be supplied and have had to inform customers that they are victims of a scam.

WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the scam is devastating to both consumers and businesses.

“The victims are lured by the low prices and soon find themselves out of pocket with some paying up to $2000 for multiple phones,” Lipscombe said.

“The innocent businesses affected are having their brand names trashed by this scam. As soon as they get one fake Facebook page shut down, another one pops up in its place, so it’s a very frustrating experience for them.

“Our WA ScamNet team is able to get fake Facebook ads and pages closed down very quickly, so businesses should contact us if they are experiencing any delays in that process.

“Businesses are easy targets for scammers looking at stealing identities as their websites have all the material necessary to set up a fake ad, such as logos and the store details.

“We recommend that online shoppers take time to locate the real website of the legitimate business they think they are doing business with and contact them independently to verify their offer is genuine, before parting with any money.

“Being asked to pay using a direct bank transfer can be an indication of a scam. Pay by credit card through a secure payment method, that way you can claim a chargeback if the goods don’t arrive.”

Information and advice on the scams is available on the WA ScamNet website.

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