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Consumer & Business Advice
Media releases
25 January 2012

Consumer and Business Services(CBS) is warning people throughout the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands to beware of an email scam targeting the area.

The scam appears to be using the email account of staff working for Indigenous media organisation, PY Media.

Acting Deputy Commissioner, Dini Soulio, says anyone who has received an email purporting to be from “Chris”, or another staff member from PY Media, asking to urgently borrow money should ignore it.

“The email sender claims to be Chris from PY Media and that he has been robbed while attending a conference in Spain and urgently needs to borrow more than $3,000,” Mr Soulio said.

“The Manager of PY Media, Chris Ashby, has confirmed that his email account has been hacked by a scam artist and he is urging people not to be taken in by the plea for help.

“This type of scam has been around for a while and it involves hacking into a person’s email account and sending out a fairly convincing email with a harrowing story to all contacts in the account’s address book.

“This scam preys upon the goodwill of people who wish to help out someone they know who they think has been robbed overseas and now finds themselves in a desperate situation.

“Anyone who responds to the email with their own contact details not only risks ending up handing over money to a con artist, but they too can end up having their email account hacked into so the scam could played out from their email account.

“The victim of the hacking usually ends up having the email contacts in their address book erased by the hacker, so they can’t swiftly get in touch with people to warn them of the hacking and to not part with their money.

CBS has reported this scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) SCAMwatch service and is urging people who may have come into contact with this scam to spread the word around their community about the scam email.
To protect yourself from scams consumers should follow some simple tips:
•    question offers or requests that come out of the blue - investigate them for yourself and get independent advice;
•    delete any suspicious or unsolicited emails/spam;
•    never call a telephone number that you see in a spam email or SMS; and
•    do not send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know or have not initiated contact with.

If you think that you have been targeted by this scam please contact CBS for assistance on 13 1882.

You can also reports scams to the ACCC’s SCAMwatch service by calling 1300 795 995 or going to www.scamwatch.gov.au .