Scams targeting Queenslanders
The following scam warnings are current.
Fake trader website scam
21 June 2017
We have received reports of a number of 'fake trader websites' which offer heavily reduced priced items, including barbecues, outboard motors, air conditioners and gym equipment in return for cash payment.
Police have since worked with hosting agencies to take down the websites, but are concerned there may be more websites and even more victims.
The fake websites since taken down by police include:
If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Further details are available on the MyPolice website.
More online shopping tips are available online.
Fake solar rebate
1 September 2016
We have received reports that scammers are cold-calling Queensland residents claiming to offer a Queensland Government rebate for solar panels.
There are currently no Queensland Government rebate for the purchase of solar panels, although the solar bonus scheme does still operate for eligible customers.
If you are interested in solar panels for your home, do your own independent research and engage a supplier of your choice, rather than accepting an offer from a cold-call salesperson. If you receive a call you suspect of being a scam, simply hang up.
Cold call investment fraud
18 August 2016
Cold call investment fraud (CCIF) is a type of scam that offers supposedly guaranteed returns on investments or gambling.
Spotting the scam
The scam usually begins with an unsolicited phone call (‘cold call’). The offer might be:
- for computer software that supposedly predicts share market movements or sporting results
- to become a member of a betting syndicate, where bets are placed on your behalf and profits are returned to syndicate members
- presented as a business opportunity or investment.
Looking out for the following warnings signs:
- A promise of large or guaranteed returns for minimal or no risk.
- The use of professional-looking promotional material, with financial or technical language, to showcase the apparent returns.
- Frequent and persistent attempts by the scheme’s promoters to get you to join, or to invest more.
- Being told places in the scheme are limited or only being offered to certain people.
If you receive a call offering you an ‘investment opportunity’ – just hang up.
Don’t be pressured into signing up to anything or making decisions about your money before you’ve had a chance to consider your options.
If you need financial advice, make the approach yourself to a recognised financial institution or adviser.
Report suspected CCIF
You can report suspected CCIF attempts in the following ways.
- If you receive a phone call, but do not engage with the scammer and receive no further contact or documentation, you can report the attempted fraud to Scamwatch.
- If you receive multiple calls, or are sent documentation to complete, please report it online. This form will ask you to provide the details of the CCIF company that contacted you. You will usually receive a reply within 48 hours, containing a Queensland Police reference number. Information provided will be used by Police to investigate CCIF, and you may be contacted for further information.
- If you have given money to a suspected CCIF company, you will need to lodge a police report. Contact Policelink or attend your nearest police station.
Fake calls using Office of Fair Trading name
5 August 2016
Queenslanders are reminded not to provide their bank details over the phone. Queensland residents have received calls from scammers using the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) name in a bank fee refund scam. The scammers are calling and requesting that you confirm basic information including who you bank with, your name, date of birth and address. The scammers say the OFT will contact you the next day but they require your banking details now.
The OFT does not cold call Queenslanders offering refunds for overcharged bank fees. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. If you receive a call like this, just hang up.
Fake emails from government agencies
15 July 2016
Queensland businesses are warned to watch out for scam emails that claim to be from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other government agencies. The emails contain links that can infect your computer with malware. The scams encourage the recipient to find out more by either clicking on a 'pdf file link, or responding to contact details in the email. Clicking on the link will cause your computer to become infected with malware that freezes your computer and requires payment of a ransom before unlocking it.
Avoid this scam by checking the email address. Emails from Australian government agencies end with .gov.au, not .govt.au or @outlook.com.
While we are not aware of OFT's name being used in a similar fashion, if you receive an email from us with an attachment that you're not expecting, be careful and call us on 13 74 68 if you're unsure.
Fake Australian domains
23 December 2015
Queensland consumers are warned to be on the lookout for overseas companies purchasing and operating expired Australian (.au) domain names.
A number of overseas companies are using .au domains to lure consumers into thinking they are easier to contact, and quicker to purchase from. No Australian address is listed on these websites and they are usually hard to contact, giving only vague information as well as delivering an inferior product.
Only follow trusted sites and research a site for reviews and recommendations prior to purchasing goods or services.
Pre-paid debit cards
7 Septmeber 2015
Queenslanders are reminded not to send money via direct deposit unless they know and trust the recipient.
Pre-paid debit cards are re-emerging as a tool of choice for scammers in advance fee frauds. The cards are designed to allow the user to make credit card purchases and cash withdrawals, so their identifying number looks like a bank account number.
This gives the fraudster an air of legitimacy, given the OD requirements required to open a bank account. However, the pre-paid debits cards are not linked to any bank account and can often be purchased without providing 100 points of ID.
To avoid advance free scams, don't send money to someone you don't know, no matter the reason or excuse given.