Small business warned to watch out for ransomware

This Fraud Week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning small business operators to think twice before opening email files that could contain ransomware after the latest Targeting Scams Report revealed that almost $1 million was lost to these scams last year.

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects a computer system by restricting access unless a ransom is paid to a scammer for the restriction to be removed.

Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2014

This report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community.

ACCC seeks input into review of water charge rules in the Murray-Darling Basin

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released its issues paper seeking submissions on possible amendments to the Commonwealth water charge rules.

The water charge rules regulate the charges imposed upon water market participants in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The Murray-Darling Basin has one of the most developed water markets in the world. The importance of rural water markets cannot be underestimated in the context of the Australian economy,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

Hang up on an immigration scam

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging visa holders and Australian citizens to hang up on fraudulent phone calls from scammers.

The ACCC has received reports of scammers impersonating government officials who threaten visa holders and citizens with deportation because they claim these people have not filled out immigration forms correctly.

Scammers are targeting people by demanding up-front fees of around $1,000 to resubmit forms. A high proportion of those targeted have been people from India and Pakistan.

Beware of NBN scams

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning consumers and businesses to watch out for scams relating to the National Broadband Network asking you for financial details or to buy equipment you don’t need.

“As the NBN rollout progresses, you may be receiving legitimate materials from NBN Co and telecommunications service providers outlining your options when it is available in your area,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Priorities 2015

In his first speech of the year, Chairman Rod Sims launches the 2015 edition of the ACCC’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy at CEDA in Sydney. Mr Sims announces cartel conduct in government procurement, truth in advertising, competition and consumer issues in the health sector and industry codes as new priorities. He also outlines the ACCC’s role in ensuring privatisation delivers for consumers, improving the functioning of the financial system given the competition focus of the Murray report, ensuring a smooth transition for consumers to NBN services and reviewing water rules to improve outcomes in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Australians lose $75,000 every day to romance scams

This Valentine’s Day, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning the online dating community to beware of any love interest who asks for money.

“Sadly, $28 million was reported lost to romance scams in Australia last year by 1,032 people. Of this, 81 people reported losing over $100,000, showing just how financially devastating these scams can be. We know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as many victims are reluctant to admit to friends, family or authorities that they fell for a scam,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Donate safely this bushfire season

If you are considering donating to bushfire appeals, the ACCC is encouraging you to double check if the appeal or its organisers are legitimate so that your generosity reaches victims, not scammers.

“There are many worthy organisations that provide much-needed assistance to those affected by the summer bushfires,” ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“Unfortunately, there are also scammers who capitalise on tragic events as soon as they happen and divert funds away from those in need.”