Scams targeting Queenslanders
The following scam warnings are current.
- COVID-19 (coronavirus) scams
- Bushfire charity scams
- Mother's Day scams
- Dating and romance scams
- Charity scams
- Email hacking scams
- Licensee impersonation scam
- Tax return scams
- Social media scams
- Fake trader website scam
- Fake solar rebate
- Cold call investment fraud
- Fake calls using Office of Fair Trading name
- Fake emails from government agencies
You can also report a scam.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) scams
31 March 2020
The spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus has brought on fear and anxiety for many people in the community. Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the situation with a variety of scams being reported worldwide.
Scams associated with COVID-19 that have been identified include:
- fake websites and/or social media accounts claiming to sell medical or health products such as face masks
- phone calls where the scammer claims to be a relative that requires money for medical treatment
- phishing scams via email claiming to be from organisations such as the Department of Health or the World Health Organisation with links and/or documents containing malware to obtain personal data.
Consumers are warned to be on their guard against these scammers. If you are worried about a phone call, email, social media post or text message, it is best not to respond or click any links. Read more about how to protect yourself against scams.
More information for consumers and businesses affected by COVID-19 is available on our website or visit the ScamWatch website.
Bushfire charity scams
06 January 2020
Scammers are known to take advantage of public generosity during and after disasters. Donating to a registered charity is the best way to ensure your money reaches the people or cause you want to help.
The best way to do this is conduct a free online check to see if the organisation conducting the appeal is legitimate. Organisations that wish to fundraise in Queensland must be registered with us or authorised by a registered charity to act on their behalf.
Legitimate street and door-to-door charity collectors should:
- wear prominent identification
- provide receipts (unless a collection box is used or the donation is given in exchange for an item such as a badge)
- be able to produce written authority from the association for which they are collecting
- be 15 or older or accompanied by an adult
- door knock only between 9am and 5pm.
Scammers also use fake websites and social media accounts.
If you think you have been scammed, report it to us.
For more information, read our bushfire charity scams media statement.
Mother's Day scams
10 May 2019
Mother’s Day often involves buying or ordering a flower delivery. Although convenient, make sure you do your research and understand your rights and the risks before you order from a website, social media or an app.
Consumer complaints we have received for Mother’s Day flower deliveries have included customers who left it to the last minute to place their order, and complaints are generally about the flowers not arriving in time, not arriving at all or arriving damaged.
In addition to avoiding flower delivery problems, take time to avoid potential issues with other Mother’s Day gifts. Scammers use special times such as Mother’s Day to appeal to online consumers by offering cheap prices and quick delivery. These fake traders can cause financial and emotional stress.
By planning ahead, you give yourself time to:
- read the terms and conditions, especially about delivery timeframes and whether any cut-off times apply for peak periods
- check the trader’s refund policy and see if changes are allowed before confirming an order, especially if you think you may need to change a delivery time
- ask family and friends for supplier recommendations, or do a quick online search for reviews if you are ordering from a supplier you haven’t used before.
You should also ensure you keep your receipt and order confirmation in case there are any issues with your delivery.
Dating and romance scams
7 February 2019
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it might seem like a good time to sign up to dating apps and websites. To protect yourself and your money, ensure you read and understand the associated terms and conditions before entering into any contract, no matter how enticing the deal may sound.
Although free to sign up, some dating apps charge for additional functions such as further information about potential introductions, contacting other profiles or changing a subscription.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, it is an offence for a business to make a false or misleading claim, or one that is likely to mislead or deceive, such as advertising a service with an incorrect or partial price.
21 December 2018
There have been reports of scammers impersonating legitimate and well-respected charities. Contact is made using realistic emails, social media posts or text messages to draw you in and ask for money or personal details.
Collectors may also approach you pretending to collect for a legitimate charity. Organisations that wish to publicly fundraise in Queensland must be registered with the Office of Fair Trading or authorised by a registered charity to act on their behalf.
If you are planning to donate to a charity or relief appeal:
- look for the fake charity warning signs
- do your homework—check the charity you are donating to is legitimate.
We keep a list of registered charities that you can check online for free.
Email hacking scams
30 November 2018
Whether large or small, businesses should keep their IT security up to date at all times, while scammers become consistently more sophisticated in their tactics.
Email hacking scams can involve fraudsters impersonating clients or staff in an effort to get hold of secure details and money. It is important for businesses to be aware of scams and make sure all staff remain vigilant.
It is recommended that businesses ensure a 2-factor check process is in place for communications, especially involving large sums of money. For example, if a regular supplier or customer changes their contact details, the business should confirm this change.
A high-profile case involving a Queensland real estate agent scammed into sending a large payment to a fraudster’s account shows that emails can’t always be taken at face value.
Licensee impersonation scams
7 March 2018
The SMS scam involves a message to security provider licensees, claiming their licence is either due to expire, or has already expired. The victim is then asked to send a renewal receipt or photo back to the scammer.
We are reminding licensees that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) does not send text messages to licence holders to ask for information about their licence.
Any communication between the OFT and industry stakeholders can be verified by contacting the contacting OFT directly via the Queensland Government Call Centre on 13QGOV (13 74 68), or via our pages on the Queensland Government website (www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading).