Scam alert for Australian home owners

Home own­ers are being warned to look out for scam­mers cold call­ing pre­tend­ing to sell green products, or even giv­ing them for free thanks to so called “rebates” in an effort to obtain funds or indi­vidu­als’ bank account information.

Householders are being warned to watch out for scammers cold calling

The alert comes after earlier this month home own­ers in north­ern Vic­toria received phone calls offer­ing to give away free solar pan­els thanks to their prop­er­ties sup­posedly being rezoned by the local council.

The phone calls, which appeared to own­ers as though they were backed by the coun­cil and the Vic­torian state gov­ern­ment, con­tained auto­mated mes­sages that asked the home owner to dial in cer­tain num­bers to move to the next point.

The pre-recorded mes­sage also allegedly claimed prop­erty own­ers would save over $1400 a year in elec­tri­city bills, and then asked for their bank inform­a­tion or credit card number.

The City of Wangar­atta Mayor Cr Anthony Grif­fiths has aler­ted home own­ers in other areas of Aus­tralia to be on the watch for sim­ilar calls.

The advice from the other gov­ern­ment depart­ments said that there had been other cases in other states, they didn’t actu­ally say where, but it didn’t look like that we were the only case,” he says.

Grif­fiths became aler­ted of the scam­mers after rate­pay­ers began call­ing in ask­ing if their prop­er­ties had been rezoned.

People were telling me ‘well hang on, how can we be rezoned, we haven’t been told?’” he says.

There was a reason why they hadn’t had any noti­fic­a­tion, it was com­pletely fraudulent.”

Grif­fiths thinks his local area may have been tar­geted as sev­eral coun­cils in the region have come together in a group-buying oper­a­tion for solar pan­els to offer rate­pay­ers discounts.

[Per­haps] the scam­mers decided to piggy­back on that media, that’s the main reason we were tar­geted,” Grif­fiths says.

Although he does not know of any­one that has fallen for the scam by the fraud­sters, Grif­fiths says there’s still instances of scattered cases of the calls com­ing in.

A Vic­torian Gov­ern­ment spokes­man says there is no “wide­spread prob­lem”, how­ever, admits it is hard to know if any­one has been conned by the scam.

It’s often the case in these incid­ents that people are embar­rassed to come for­ward if they’ve lost money to scams, that’s gen­er­ally the case across the board with scams, so there is in fact, we believe, sig­ni­fic­ant under­re­port­ing of this sort of thing,” the spokes­man says.

There’s no epi­demic of it but that doesn’t mean it’s not occur­ring else­where and our Con­sumer Affairs people are keep­ing a very close eye on it.

Wherever there’s new tech­no­logy and claimed cost sav­ings, there are also swind­lers out to make a quick buck. So with things like renew­able energy, solar pan­els, water effi­ciency and so forth, there are, in all those areas … instances of people try­ing to scam [others].”

For ways to spot a scam and avoid it, see SCAM­watch, a web­site run by the Aus­tralian Com­pet­i­tion and Con­sumer Commission.

 

About 

Jhai is an award win­ning Inter­net Mar­ket­ing Real Estate Agent for Eld­ers Toongab­bie and Kings Langley. After run­ning his own inter­net mar­ket­ing busi­ness he has now set his own sites for the real estate industry. He observed that 90% of real estate agents did not know how to mar­ket them­selves online. Jhai is now fixed on one goal. To teach real estate agents that they can mar­ket online so much bet­ter than they cur­rently are.

Since then he has been con­sist­ently quoted in the Sydney Morn­ing Her­ald and Real Estate Busi­ness online. He is a reg­u­lar guest blog­ger on TheHomePage.com.au, shar­ing his expert­ise of mar­ket­ing aspects for the Real Estate Industry. His biggest pas­sions are his wife, mar­tial arts, dogs and most of all property.

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