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Hunter residents not immune to cunning scammers


Hunter residents are among the thousands of hard-working people being ripped off by scammers on a daily basis.

It’s been reported locals throughout the region have regularly experienced the persistent calls, texts and social media accounts attempting to fleece them of their money.

As recent as last week, Taylor Swift fans were also being warned about deceitful operators as they desperately sought tickets to one of her sold-out Sydney shows.

“With no viable options, Swifties were turning to the black market and social media,” The Ticket Merchant’s Alex Coetzee said.

“This in turn leads to innocent people being scammed.”

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones visited Newcastle in the past few days to attend a community Scams Forum.

It was an opportunity for people to learn ways to protect themselves from rip-offs, know what to do if they are targeted, and hear about the steps the government is taking to crackdown on the crime.  

Disturbingly, Australians lost more than $3 billion to scams in 2022 alone.

Now, the government is implementing an ambitious anti-scam agenda to combat con artists and protect residents.

The first phase was establishing the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) in July, which was part of an $86.5 million investment to fight scams and online fraud in the May Budget.

This announcement included:

  • $58 million for the ACCC to establish the NASC
  • $17.6 million for ASIC to bust fake investment websites that promote fake scams
  • $10 million for ACMA to establish and enforce an SMS sender ID registry to stop scam texts

“The government’s crackdown has already shown signs of success,” Mr Jones aid.

“In the six months since the NASC was created, reported losses reduced by 29% compared with the same period in 2022. 

“By last week, ASIC had taken down 4,220 investment scam websites, with another 540 in the works. 

“Early data in 2024 shows overall losses reported are about 40% lower than the same period in 2023.”

Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said it was more important than ever that the community was alert to scams and were aware of how to protect themselves.

“Residents and local businesses are more protected from scammers than ever before with the establishment of the National Anti-Scams Centre,” she explained.

“Every day, scammers are ripping money out the pockets of hard-working Novocastrians. 

“The government is fighting back.

“If an offer seems too good to be true or suspicious, it probably is.”

If you or anyone you know receive a suspicious call, text or email, take these steps to protect yourself:

  • Stop – take your time before giving money or personal information
  • Think – ask yourself if the message or call could be fake?
  • Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact your bank and report scams to Scamwatch immediately

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