Identities of small businesses stolen in Facebook mobile phone scams…

Four mobile phone businesses in Perth have had their identities stolen as part of a Facebook scam which is claiming many victims around Australia.

The logos, ABNs, contacts and other details of the three companies are being used in bogus Facebook Marketplace ads which feature mobile phones for sale at heavily discounted prices.

Buyers who respond to the ads are directed to a fake Facebook page and then communicate directly with the scammers who demand payment upfront, but the phones are never delivered.

The legitimate businesses are getting calls from people demanding their phones be supplied and then have to inform them that that they are victims of a scam. In some cases, the Perth victims have visited the stores to demand the phones they ordered via the fake Facebook page.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said this scam is devastating to both the consumers and businesses.

“The victims are lured by the low prices and soon find themselves out of pocket with some paying up to $2,000 for multiple phones,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“The innocent businesses affected are having their brand names trashed by this scam. As soon as they get one fake Facebook page shut down, another one pops up in its place, so it’s a very frustrating experience for them.

“Our WA ScamNet team is able to get fake Facebook ads and pages closed down very quickly, so businesses should contact us if they are experiencing any delays in that process.

“Businesses are easy targets for scammers looking at stealing identities as their websites have all the material necessary to set up a fake ad, such as logos and the store details.

“We recommend that online shoppers take time to locate the real website of the legitimate business they think they are doing business with and contact them independently to verify their offer is genuine, before parting with any money.

“Being asked to pay using a direct bank transfer can be an indication of a scam. Pay by credit card through a secure payment method, that way you can claim a chargeback if the goods don’t arrive.”

Information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website Enquiries can be made by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.