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Scams hit indigenous communities, losses at $3 million Featured

Phishing, unexpected prize and lottery scams and identity theft are among the 1800 scams which have hit Australia’s indigenous communities, causing losses of $3 million so far this year.

The report on indigenous scams comes from the Australian Competititon and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch website.

The ACCC and state and territory consumer affairs agencies have just launched a new scams awareness initiative called "Too good to be true", and will work with Indigenous communities on ways to identify and avoid scammers.

The project is being managed under the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy, and is aimed at engaging, educating and empowering Indigenous consumers to stay one step ahead of scammers.

NICS members include the ACCC as the NICS chair, ASIC, state consumer affairs agencies and the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network.

“Prevention is the most effective defence against scammers. As part of this initiative, we will meet with Indigenous Australians in their communities to hear about their experiences with scams and explore ways on how to empower them against scam conduct in their community,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Scammers are usually after your money and your personal information and can get quite aggressive and threatening if you don’t give it to them.

“We’ve seen countless examples of people being threatened with arrest if they don’t comply. It can be terrifying for victims.”

“Scammers spin very sophisticated lies so if someone contacts you out of the blue requesting personal information, you should be really suspicious about it being a scam,” Rickard said.

NICS is also launching a new "too good to be true" magnet and running a social media campaign to spread the word about avoiding scams.

“Scams can have devastating effects on people’s lives. This is an important opportunity for us to hear about Indigenous Australian’s concerns about scams and arm them with the information they need to keep their friends and family safe from scammers,” Rickard said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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