Businesses and individuals affected by the severe weather conditions in Australia’s east coast are urged to be vigilant of recovery scams that are on the rise.
Even as parts of Queensland and New South Wales face the worst floods in their history, there are reports of scammers reaching out to residents with false insurance claims, dodgy repair work, and fake charities for ‘relief’ donations.
“The behaviour of these fraudsters who seek to profit from other people’s heartbreak is reprehensible and we need to do everything possible to ensure they are caught and face the full force of the law,” said NSW Fair Trading Minister Eleni Petinos on the issue.
In NSW alone, there were over 90,000 scams reported last year amounting to around $110,080,190.
Recently, Labor MP for Pumicestone, Ali King, also took to social media to share a scam message she received from someone posing as an insurance employee.
“I got a text today from someone assigned to help me with my insurance claim,” Ms King, who is based in the Sunshine Coast, wrote on Instagram. “I don’t have an insurance claim. Watch out for flood scammers, everyone!”
While businesses and individuals begin cleaning up and rebuilding, here are some things to keep in mind:
- For those looking to donate money to an individual or organisation, check online for their charitable fundraising license or ABN number to ensure they are legitimate accounts.
- Be wary of calls or emails from unknown numbers, especially those claiming to be from reputable organisations. If in doubt, ask for a reference number and call back on the organisation’s publicly listed number to confirm their identity.
- If you are approached by a tradesman claiming to be from your insurance company, ask to see their license. Remember, insurance companies will not send tradesmen to your home without notifying you.
- If you’re suspicious of a scam, stop all communication with the individual and get in touch with your bank immediately.