An offer to buy new and used items, advertised in several WA newspapers, has been identified as a scam after being reported to Consumer Protection.
The large colourful advert offered readers of papers such as Bunbury Herald, South West Times and Busselton & Dunsborough Times the chance to sell 'merchandise or product' and listed a huge variety of items that would be accepted; from pets and animals to clothing, furniture, electrical appliances, toys and musical instruments.
The only contact details given were two email addresses:
A respondent who has spoken to the media (see 'Money laundering' advertisement appears in local newspaper) says that when she emailed about selling her household goods, she was repeatedly asked to take payment by credit card, via emails from multiple addresses. She became suspicious and stopped the communication.
WA ScamNet's investigation has found:
- The person who placed the advertisement was using the name 'David Brooks' and pretending to be from a hardware business in Victoria's Murray Valley.
- The hardware business has nothing to do with the scheme and the true owner has received calls from all over the world about the same scam advertisement placed by someone impersonating his business.
- The phone number given on the newspaper advertisement booking form does not work.
- Pre-payment was made by credit card, which is likely to be stolen or a fraudulent account.
- A Promo Promo sales website is newly established and based in Ghana, which is considered to be a high-risk country in terms of scams.
- Similar advertisements have been placed in publications across Australia, including Warwick Daily News classifieds.
WA ScamNet's requests to the email addresses, offering the opportunity for the account owner to prove the legitimacy of the business/scheme, have been unanswered.
We're confident this is a scam and we're putting out a warning before anyone loses money or is used as a mule to launder money by accepting payment and then sending it on to overseas-based criminals.
Share this warning to alert your family and friends.