Identities of small businesses stolen in Facebook mobile phone scams
Mobile phone businesses are being targeted by a new Facebook scam which is claiming many victims around Australia.
The scammers operate by stealing the identify of small mobile phone businesses including their logos, ABNs, contacts and other details, which they use in bogus Facebook Marketplace ads that offer mobile phones for sale at heavily discounted prices.
Buyers who respond to the ads are directed to a fake Facebook page and then communicate directly with the scammers who demand payment upfront, but the phones are never delivered.
The legitimate businesses are getting calls from people demanding their phones be supplied and then have to inform them that that they are victims of a scam. In some cases, victims visit the stores to demand the phones they ordered via the fake Facebook page, only to be told that they have been scammed.
This scam is devastating to both the consumers and businesses and so far the scammers seem to be operating mostly in Perth, but other major cities in Australia are also being targeted.
“The victims are lured by the low prices and soon find themselves out of pocket with some paying up to $2,000 for multiple phones,” stated Ms Penny Lipscombe Commissioner for Consumer Protection in WA.
“The innocent businesses affected are having their brand names trashed by this scam. As soon as they get one fake Facebook page shut down, another one pops up in its place, so it’s a very frustrating experience for them.
Businesses are easy targets for scammers looking at stealing identities as their websites have all the material necessary to set up a fake ad, such as logos and the store details.
Authorities are recommending that online shoppers take time to locate the real website of the legitimate business they think they are doing business with and contact them independently to verify their offer is genuine, before parting with any money.
Consumers are being asked to be vigilant and scrutinise any mobile phone facebook ads offering greatly discounted mobile handset prices. Being asked to pay using a direct bank transfer can be an indication of a scam. Pay by credit card through a secure payment method, that way you can claim a chargeback if the goods don’t arrive