26/05/2006 - 11:11

Cyber shysters increase the stakes

26/05/2006 - 11:11

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Consumer Protection Minister Michelle Roberts has alerted Western Australians to a new tactic being used by shysters who have resurrected an old scam similar to the illegal pyramid scheme known as the 'David Rhodes Chain Letter'.

Cyber shysters increase the stakes

Consumer Protection Minister Michelle Roberts has alerted Western Australians to a new tactic being used by shysters who have resurrected an old scam similar to the illegal pyramid scheme known as the 'David Rhodes Chain Letter'.

"Scammers never seem to run out of ideas in their quest to rip off unsuspecting consumers," Mrs Roberts said.

"I have great concerns that people who are receiving emails offering them ways to beat fuel prices and make money using pyramid scheme-like methods may not only end up losing money, but could also be prosecuted for their trouble."

Supposed testimonials from people who claim they are making $200 and more per day are being emailed, along with instructions to forward the email to numerous other people, after sending $5 via PayPal to the first email address on the list.

PayPal is a legitimate electronic payment system used widely for online financial transactions.

"Pyramid schemes are illegal, yet the latest emails include statements that honesty, faith and integrity make the system work," the Minister said.

"By making reference to services like PayPal, it suggests a level of legitimacy to the schemes, a legitimacy they certainly do not have.

"Consumer Protection last year issued more than 2,000 compliance letters to Western Australians who were trying to scam other people with the hard copy David Rhodes Chain Letter, as well as seizing and destroying more than 10,000 of the letters.

"Many of these letters had a five cent coin attached to attract the attention of the reader. These coins were removed and donated to the Salvation Army prior to the letters being destroyed, by being pulped for recycling,"

Anyone forwarding this email or receiving money from it can face fines of up to $20,000, or if they operate through a company, $100,000. They may also face civil recovery action from people they have ripped off.

"Have nothing to do with this email," Mrs Roberts said.

"Please forward it to the Government's WA ScamNet service and Consumer Protection investigators will follow up Western Australian promoters, and hand on contact details of other jurisdictions to other authorities."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options