Scam artists chasing local cash
ROSE City residents are being warned to stay savvy as an apparent onslaught of scams seems to be hitting the region, with one local pensioner being fleeced out of $10,000.
The victim – who wants to be identified as Peter – fears Warwick residents are “sitting ducks” after he took to the internet to find himself a new car and became embroiled in an elaborate scam to steal his money.
Peter found a car he wanted to purchase on the website Carsales.com and after a thorough background check, Peter committed to buying the vehicle online and with no idea of the dire consequences to come.
“Everything was there and it was just like any other car ad,” he said.
“I try to be very careful with these things and I did a Revs check and made sure there was no outstanding finance on the vehicle.”
Once he agreed to purchase the vehicle, Peter was contacted by the so-called seller who told Peter he was in Spain and would need Peter to pay through the Paypal system via eBay.
The seller emailed a direct link to a sophisticated copy of the popular online selling website and Peter said his mistake was to click on that link, rather than enter the website on his own.
Following the transfer of his hard-earned $10,000 into this unscrupulous scammer’s account, Peter was informed by his bank there was only a 12-24 hour window to recover the cash.
The scammers covered themselves and requested Peter wait 48 hours before contacting them regarding the location of the item.
“The world is a very small place because of the internet and the guy who has done this could be anywhere – he could be on the other side of the world or he could be next door and there is no way to find out,” he said.
Peter prided himself on being meticulous with things such as purchasing new cars before this situation and had avoided talking about the incident due to the embarrassment he feels at being taken advantage of.
“Nobody likes to feel like they’ve had the wool over their eyes and I never thought this would happen to me.
"I thought I was too smart but I’m not.”
Peter was reluctant to share his story initially and said he still avoids talking about it, but when his friend Savannah Seaborne became the target of scams he decided to speak out to warn others of the growing danger of scams.
Ms Seaborne received a letter from someone claiming to be an attorney in the UK – although it is postmarked as having been sent from France – and offers Ms Seaborne the chance to share in a multi-million dollar inheritance from a man who shares her surname.
The pair decided to come forward because they want other people in the area to be aware that sophisticated scams designed to steal your hard earned money are successfully operating nearby and could target anyone.
Peter said within a one week period he had around four calls he believed to be scams and said the first few seconds was long enough to make him suspicious.
“When a guy rings you with an obvious Indian accent and tells you his name is Kevin, that there tells you something isn’t right,” Peter said.
Peter said he has since spoken with the Fraud Squad who told him these kinds of scams are becoming more sophisticated and were often untraceable.
For more advice on staying scam-safe pay a visit to www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au.