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Archives for : November2016

Placing bets with a scammer online this spring racing season ?? WAKE UP.

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31 October 2016

Scamwatch is warning gamblers not to part with money they didn’t plan to during Spring Racing Season, today issuing an alert that confidence tricksters are on the hunt for more victims.

Australians alone  have lost over one million dollars to con artists pushing sports investment scams in 2016 to date.

Betting and sports investment scams convince victims to invest in ‘foolproof’ systems or software that can ‘guarantee’ a profit on sporting events. These scams are often promoted as a legitimate investment.

Scamwatch says people who “invest” in these schemes report an average loss of $10,000.

“These scams are particularly effective over the spring carnival period as racing fever takes hold,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Scammers offer software packages or syndicate betting with guaranteed returns when you follow their system for placing bets on horse races. Scammers are quick to capitalise on every opportunity and the Melbourne Cup is no exception.”

“The scams are often promoted as legitimate investments but these schemes simply do not deliver. The odds are that you will never see your money again.”

How these scams work

  • Scammers will use high pressure sales tactics, such as claiming that places are strictly limited or they may even claim their system is safe because it is backed by government regulations.
  • Participation requires the payment of large upfront fees for software or access to so-called expert advice.
  • Betting syndicates may also require the use of a sports betting account. These accounts may show winnings during the ‘trial period’. However, this money cannot be accessed and will soon disappear along with the scammers.

Protect yourself

  • If you receive a phone call, email or glossy brochure out of the blue about a sports investment opportunity, just hang up, delete the email and bin the brochure.
  • Always get independent financial or legal advice if an offer involves significant amount of money, time or commitment.
  • If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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Henry Sapiecha

Protect your small business from invoice email scams

fake-agl-invoice-containing-a-link-to-a-virus-image-www-scamsfakes-com

16 August 2016

Scam watchers ask that businesses be beware of an invoice email scam seeking payment re-direction.

The scam involves scammers pretending to be legitimate suppliers advising changes to payment arrangements. It may not be detected until the business is alerted by complaints from suppliers that payments were not received.

How these scams work

  • Scammers hack into vendor and/or supplier email accounts and obtain information such as customer lists, bank details and previous invoices.
  • Your business receives an email, supposedly from a vendor, requesting a wire transfer to a new or different bank account.
  • The scammers either disguise their email address or create a new address that looks nearly identical. The emails may be spoofed by adding, removing, or subtly changing characters in the email address which makes it difficult to identify the scammer’s email from a legitimate address.
  • The email may look to be from a genuine supplier and often copy a business’s logo and message format. It may also contain links to websites that are convincing fakes of the real company’s homepage or links to the real homepage itself.
  • The scam email requests a change to usual billing arrangements and asks you to transfer money to a different account, usually by wire transfer.
  • The scam may not be detected until the business is alerted by complaints from legitimate suppliers that they have not received payment.

Protect yourself

  • Make yours a ‘fraud-free’ business – effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing scams. Have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices.
  • Consider a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar threshold.
  • Ensure your staff are aware of this scam and understand how it works so they can identify it, avoid it and report it.
  • Double check email addresses – scammers can create a new account which is very close to the real one; if you look closely you can usually spot the fake.
  • Don’t seek verification via email – you may be simply responding to the scammer’s email or scammers may have the capacity to intercept the email.
  • If you think a request is suspicious, telephone the business to seek verification of the email’s authenticity.
  • Don’t call any telephone number listed in the email; instead, use contact details that you already have on file for the business, or that you have sourced independently – for example, from a telephone directory.
  • Don’t pay, give out or clarify any information about your business until you have looked into the matter further.
  • Check your IT systems for viruses or malware – always keep your computer security up-to-date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall.

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Henry Sapiecha

Job seekers are still targets of scammers despite economic conditions getting better

job-seekers-remain-targeted-by-scams-image-www-scamsfakes-com

Experts are warning job seekers to keep an eye out for fake ads when looking for employment, citing a recent scam which had one of them convinced she had to pay thousands of dollars and possibly going to jail for allegedly not paying her taxes.

Vancouver, Canada-based Susan Kihn, one of the talent experts at CareerMine, the leading website for mining jobs and professional development, was recently contacted by someone posing as a Canada Revenue Agency officer, who left a message on her office phone asking her to call him back urgently.

As soon as Kihn phoned the number indicated and to her surprise, she was told she was being investigated for tax evasion and the alleged officer proceeded to read out a long list of what the process would be. He also told her not to talk or interrupt him, and that the call was being recorded.

Experts recommend job seekers to exercise extreme due diligence with any company offering employment that does not have a physical address where they reside.“All the time he spoke, my mind was racing, was it possible I owed taxes? Was it possible? Could I have made a mistake somehow? How come nobody had ever contacted me before?” Kihn writes. “I tried arguing but was cut short and made to feel that if I did not oblige with this officer that I would end up in jail.”

But Kihn knew better. She asked the person for a number to call him back and then she contacted Canada Revenue Agency, which confirmed what she already suspected: it was just a fraudulent scheme.

Unfortunately, sophisticated scams like this one are not an isolated case. Victims are not as well informed in these matters as the CareerMine expert either.

Earlier this year, Calgary police warned that at least five victims had lost approximately $12,000 to fake online job postings only from January to March. All of them had replied to online job ads and then received messages stating a cheque with instructions has been sent by courier.

The victims were told to cash the cheques and wire some of the funds to a person or place, but the cheques were counterfeit.

Experts such as Kihn recommend job seekers to exercise extreme due diligence with any company offering employment that does not have a physical address where they reside.

Legitimate companies will not provide up-front payment to employees without services rendered, they note.

They also advise to make sure you meet potential employers in person before providing any personal information and that you do not do transactions via e-transfer with anyone that you do not know personally, or that you haven’t confirmed is a legitimate business.

For more information and tips, please visit CareerMine’s employment advice section.

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Henry Sapiecha

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