Senator Catryna Bilyk
Labor Senator for Tasmania
Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety
MEDIA RELEASE

Make Christmas a time for giving, not scamming.

Senator Bilyk is calling up Tasmanians to have a cyber-safe and happy Christmas and New Year by keeping a wary eye out for online scams. Online scams can take the joy out of Christmas, with the potential to steal thousands of dollars from unsuspecting individuals this holiday season.

“A number of different scams target consumers this holiday season, including romance scams, holiday accommodation scams, online shopping scams and weight loss scams,” said Senator Bilyk.

Online dating scams alone have cost Australians more than $15 million last year, with much of the money going overseas.

“Christmas is a time when many in our community, particularly older Australians, feel lonely,” said Senator Bilyk.

“Online dating scammers target people through fake profiles on legitimate online dating websites, begging and emotionally blackmailing their victims to send them money via international wire transfer”.

Scams involving fake gift vouchers and “free products” being offered via social networking sites are on the rise.

“Scam offers will ask victims to join “groups”, login to pages or give personal details via survey in return for vouchers and products which either never arrive or are not honoured,” said Senator Bilyk “these fake offers are solely for the purpose of stealing personal information”.

Online criminals are also seeking to take advantage of many people who wish to lose weight over summer holidays.

“Scammers are offering ‘miracle’ weight loss pills, patches and creams which will have little or no effect. Offers of ‘free trials’ often have unexpected payments hidden in the fine print which you could be paying for well into the new year”.

More information about Christmas scams can be found on the SCAMwatch web page at www.scamwatch.gov.au and scams can be reported by calling 1300 795 995.
Senator Catryna Bilyk Labor Senator for Tasmania