THE "PHISHING" SCAM
Latest threat to real estate consumers.
This scam is still going on. Reports are coming in from both Queensland and Victoria, especially in the lower income areas. BE CAREFUL.
The latest rip-off on the Internet is a scam dubbed 'phishing'. Consumers receive an email from a trusted company. They are asked to provide personal details – for "security reasons". Once consumers give their details, they are ripped off via their credit cards or bank accounts.
"How ironic that, in search of security, consumers hand over their personal details to con artists," said one commentator.
A similar scam is now being played out on real estate consumers. An official looking magazine is being handed out at shopping centres and railway stations. In the process, names and personal details of consumers are gathered.
Bearing the title, Consumer Alert! the magazine's cover claims it is "protecting your interests". Inside are a number of impressive consumer focused articles, including a three-page piece which appears to be written by ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission). It's not.
There is an article on how to detect "biased reporting in the media", which ends with a column headed Media Watch. At the bottom are the words, "Seen any dodgy reporting lately? Send us your examples."
Well, yes. This publication is dodgy reporting at its worst. On its title page it makes the following claim, "Consumer Alert! is Australia's first business/investment consumer awareness title." It claims to be an "impartial, informed publication" for property consumers.
It also says: "Consumer Alert! is funded, staffed, and edited by persons and companies that have no vested interest in any financial product or service."
Trustworthy? Impartial? No vested interest?
Well, let's see.
This so-called consumer magazine is published by Inform Publications Pty Ltd. The director of Inform is Pasko Skelin, a former pharmacist who was recently struck off the Register of Pharmacists for "improper and unethical conduct". Skelin was selling bulk quantities of Sudafed tablets which can be used in the manufacture of amphetamines.
Pasko Skelin is currently a director of Empower Group Pty Ltd which supplies names of consumers to the National Investment Institute (NII), the company belonging to notorious property con man, Henry Kaye. Skelin is also a "master agent" for NII.
The editor of this so-called consumer magazine is Jenny Ford. Ford describes herself in the magazine as an expert in "the art of investigation". She tells consumers, "The more people get assertive and question, the better the investment industry will become." Indeed.
But anyone who investigates Ms Ford will discover that she works in "sales and marketing" at the Empower Group, directing leads to Henry Kaye.
The magazine, Consumer Alert! is not what it appears to be. It has nothing to do with ASIC. It is neither impartial nor trustworthy. It's run by con artists pretending to be authentic and helpful.
Similar cons which happen on the Internet are dubbed 'Phishing for Suckers'.
As one commentator remarked, "Think you'd never fall for it? Don't be so sure. Con artists are called artists for a reason. They're slick. They have a talent for manipulating others. And people who think they can't be fooled are the best targets."
Be warned. The magazine Consumer Alert! is a devious device to steer consumers towards the National Investment Institute.
And straight into the clutches of Henry Kaye.
Have Your Say. Comment on this article
We welcome your comments. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited.