Tuesday, 04 November 2014 00:22

No jokes: Scammers sting with $400 ACCC email hoax

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Scammers are claiming that a scam busted by the ACCC which netted $195,000 entitles the email recipient to $400, but sadly, it’s all just a dirty rotten scam.

Who watches the watchmen at Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission?

Scammers, that’s who, trying to take advantage of the ACCC’s good name, even if the venerable organisation sometimes needs dentures to effect a bit of regulatory bite.

Scammers can be a bit dim, but sadly so too can email recipients taken in by such scams, who seem unaware that a phone number that looks like +009180133XXXX isn’t an official number that is even Australian.

The ACCC’s Deputy Chairperson Delia Rickard said: “This is clearly a fake email that relies upon the public trust in the organisation it pretends to represent.”

“It is yet another variation of the reclaim scam that sees scammers claim to represent the Government, a bank or some other trusted organisation and offer refunds, grants or other monies.”

“If you are contacted out of the blue and told that you are entitled to money in exchange for an upfront fee, delete it – if you hand over your money, it’s gone.”

The dirty rotten scammers have, as you’d expect from such scam-loving scum, stooped to using a clearly fake yet semi-official sounding email address of [email protected], with the email owner’s name being ACCC GOV_AU.

At first glance this looks semi-legit, especially if you’ve had a busy day, are distracted by kids or work pressures or whatever, and especially if you trust in organisations like the ACCC that are there to try protecting you, except when it comes to scammers, grocery duopolies, petrol rip-offs and blunt or missing teeth.

In order to try and get Aussies to engage their brains first for a few moments before engaging the index mouse-clicking finger, the ACCC reminds us that gov’t departments ‘will never contact you asking you to pay money upfront in order to claim a fee or rebate’.

The ACCC also dishes out the good yet seemingly common-sense advice to never send money or hand over private and financial details to people you don’t know, as the chances of ever getting your money back are seriously remote.

Info on the latest scams can be found at the ACCC’s Scamwatch page, which, in typical toothless tiger style, does not mention a single thing about this ACCC scam involving fake ACCC emails at the time this article was published.

Why not, ACCC? I don’t ‘see see see’ information about the very scam this article is about, and although this article is based on an email alert you sent out, isn’t it important enough to be on your own official Scamwatch page?

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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