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Scammers trick victims with 'big win'

ALTHOUGH most people don't want to lose money any time, in today's tough economic times people can least afford to be taken for a ride.

However, this is exactly what fraudsters continue to attempt and they've thought up some new ways to rip people off.

Tweed residents report the latest way scammers are trying to get their hands on your money.

Scrupulous thieves have started texting unsuspecting mobile phone owners a message that they've won a considerable amount of money.

All the 'winners' need to do is sent an email with a 'winning' code to a hotmail address and they'll become a lot richer very quickly, or so the story goes.

A Department of Fair Trading spokesperson said although the message wasn't new, the way it was transmitted was.

Tweed Heads resident Kirsty Watt has been the lucky recipient of this type of message and was told she won a lotto draw.

Kirsty said she realised immediately that things weren't as rosy as made out and she ignored the message, however, many people aren't that suspicious and are pulled into the scheme.

Greed, ignorance and a trusting nature have resulted in many people handing over significant amounts of money to international scammers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is very familiar with the practices the fraudsters employ and has put out a 'little black book of scams' warning people of the different approaches criminals use to get their hands in your pockets.

The online publication offers a list of scams and top of the list is an advance fee fraud.

This type of fraud accounts for more than half of all scams reported to the ACCC and sees the scammer ask for an upfront fee or personal information in return for goods, services, money or rewards which they never supply.

Second on the list is the type of scam Kirsty experienced, the lotto, sweepstakes or competition win scam.

People are approached with a phone call, text message, fax or letter and informed of a giant prize win.

All one needs to do is sent some money or give some personal details to an email address and the cheque's in the mail.

The list of frauds committed or attempted is close to endless and only limited to the criminal mind's imagination.

People are warned not to open suspicious or unsolicited emails and contact the ACCC, the Department for Fair Trading or the police and report the matter.

For more information visit the ACCC website http://www.accc.gov.au/ and check out the "little black book of scams".

Topics:  accc crime department of fair trading fraud mobile phone scam



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