Queensland floods scams emerge

ACMA, ACCC warn of email, SMS and phone scams preying on charitable donations

More reports of spammers and telemarketers trying to cash in on the Queensland floods fundraising and charity efforts have emerged.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), a number of scams via email, phone and SMS have been identified and all calling for donations or assistance.

The ACMA said in one instance, scammers copied text from an official government website in order to make their request for a donation to their money transfer account appear legitimate.

The regulator is advising consumers to be wary of messages coming from or containing unknown, unusual email addresses and telephone numbers; containing spelling errors or poor grammar; and requesting recipients to use money transfer or wire services.

The Australian Competition and Commission (ACCC) is also making similar warnings via its SCAMwatch site, stating that consumers should thoroughly check the legitimacy of charities when donating to help flood victims in central and southeast Queensland.

“Whilst many legitimate charities exist, scammers have been known to take advantage of the public’s generosity and kindness in the aftermath of disastrous events,” a warning from the competition regulator reads.

“Recent charity scams emerged during the Haiti earthquake crisis in 2010 and the Victorian bushfires in 2009.”

The ACCC advises the public to be wary of false websites resembling to those operated by real charities, as well as false calls or spam emails requesting donations.

This follows news that charitable Australians were being targetted by scammers via fraudulent emails, websites, phone callers and door-to-door collectors seeking funds.

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