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Warning taken from
Contact Consumer Affairs through their website www.consumer.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 558 181 if you think a salesperson or telemarketer is breaking the law.
Know your legal rights. You have up to 10 business days to contact the new company and cancel the contract if you change your mind.
Gas and electricity providers
A few salespeople appear to be misleading local residents about changing your electricity and/or gas company.
Government owned companies: A salesperson may try to give you the impression they are from the government.
Be alert! This is not true. The Victorian Government does not own any energy retail companies.
You must change your provider: They tell you the company they represent is taking over the electricity/gas supply in your area and you must change - you have no choice.
Be alert! This is not true. You can choose a different provider than your neighbours. You have to agree to let them change your gas or electricity company.
Nothing will change: The salesperson will tell you the new company has the same prices as the one you have now.
Builders and tradesmen
Homeowners beware: check contractors' credentials before you hand over deposits for fencing, decking or other home improvements.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is investigating complaints about dodgy operators in the area who:
In one case, a fencing contractor's advertisement included an industry association logo, when they were not members of this association and did not have approval to use the logo.
Before agreeing to any work or handing over money, we recommend you:
You can use the Building Commission's online practitioner search to do this.
Unsolicited calls to help fix your computer
Many local people have received calls from people claiming to be from Microsoft. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.
In this scam someone will call and claim to be from Microsoft Tech Support or Computer Management Department. They tell you your computer has problems and offer to help solve these. They ask you to open your Computer Management/System Tools/Event Viewer and view the logs. Most computers have random warning or error messages logged here and there is no cause for you to be alarmed. Once they have gained your trust, they offer to fix your problem for a credit card fee. They may also damage your computer with malware (viruses and spyware) and empty your bank accounts. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming your computer has problems, hang up immediately. Microsoft will never phone you.
Bank fee class action phone offer
Scammers are targeting residents with the promise of thousands of dollars owed to them by an upcoming bank fee class action.
Con artists saying they are from a "reclaim specialist" business are calling residents claiming to represent a bank or government department and offering you a large refund for overcharged bank fees. They ask you to pay the 'tax' of several hundred dollars via Western Union transfer so this money can be released to you. Consumer Affairs Victoria urges people contacted with this bogus offer to ignore it as banks and other institutions never require payment before they release money.
Unsolicited Phone Calls
The Do Not Call Register does not cover unsolicited SMS or MMS (picture) messages sent to mobile phones (See below).
Mobile Phone Spam and Scams
The Do Not Call Register does not cover unsolicited SMS or MMS (picture) messages sent to mobile phones. This is covered by the Spam Act 2003. Complaints can be submitted at www.spam.acma.gov.au
How to report spam SMS messages
Taken from the ACMA website: The ACMA is receiving a high number of reports from consumers who have received multiple SMS ‘lottery spam’ messages. These messages are sent in quick succession.
Messages recently reported include:
These messages often purport to be associated with major mobile phone brands, to give the message more credibility. Obviously, this is not the case.
Lottery and competition scams are delivered in many ways – in person, over the telephone, through the post or by email. The scammer may tell you that you’ve won something substantial (such as a large sum of money or a great prize) and that all you have to do is send money to claim your prize. Rather than winning a prize, you could lose a lot of money.
Mobile Phone App Scam
Before you install a new App on your phone you can check it is the genuine version by searching for it on the developer's website.
Make sure the App is not asking for permissions that it doesn't need. A normal game usually won’t ask for your permission to send SMS messages. This is an increasingly common scam; the game will send SMS messages to premium phone numbers to collect income.
"LAST WARNING: Your account is considered to violated the policies that are considered annoying or insulting to Facebook users.''
Experts said the recent assault designed to steal users' Facebook details is among the most sophisticated yet because it mimics the security procedures that sites use to defend against internet trolls and other bad behaviour online.
The scam comes in an email accusing the user of insulting or annoying another Facebook user and saying their account will be deleted in 24 hours. The email requires Facebook login details and, for "authentication'' purposes, parts of a person's credit card details.
The email links to a fake account disabled page that asks for personal details, including credit card information. The access to login details helps the scam travel farther and faster by sending it to new users from trusted friends.
"The emails are entirely bogus,'' internet security experts Sophos said.
"They are not coming from Facebook. Social media venues would not request financial information, nor would they request login details. "With the credit card information, fraudsters can conduct identity theft and other malicious financial activity.''
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This page last updated: 18-Feb-2014