June 19, 2017
Police are currently investigating a string of “fake trader” websites that have allegedly ripped off a large number of Queensland residents.
The State Crime Command’s Financial and Cyber Crime Group said the websites, since taken down by police, include:
It is alleged the websites were set up to lure victims into buying discounted items, including barbecues, outboard motors, air conditioners and gym equipment in return for a cash payment.
Victims paid cash expecting goods to be delivered that never arrived.
Information about the websites was provided by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission through the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
“Firstly I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge those who have reported the matter to ACORN to allow us to investigate these matters. At this stage we have received 126 reports in relation to 27 separate websites. We anticipate somewhere in the vicinity of $110,000 has been lost so far, however we expect this figure to rise,” Acting Detective Inspector Peter Robb said.
“We believe a man and a woman who may be able to assist us with our investigation are currently in Brisbane and we are seeking the public’s support on two fronts.
“If you have any information relating to the people pictured, we’d ask you to call Policelink. We also ask that if you have fallen victim to this type of scam or any other online scam, to report the matter to ACORN.”
Police have worked with website hosts to take down the websites, but are concerned there may be more websites and even more victims.
“We would also encourage the public to stay vigilant when shopping online and remember if it’s too good to be true then it probably is,” Acting Detective Inspector Robb said.
“By shopping online at sites that you know are trusted and using established payment systems that offer buyer protection, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.”