Facebook scammers invent relief agency to target WA flood victims

Online scammers are using devious and creative methods to steal relief funding West Australian flood victims in desperate need. As river levels reached record highs in

the Kimberley this month, affected residents were left feeling anxious, afraid and isolated, and the broader community flocked to social media to show its support. But in

comments sections and inboxes predators eager to capitalise on this historic disaster were lurking. Online scammers posing as representatives from fictitious relief

associations have spammed comment sections of informative posts that offer general assistance to flood victims. Using stolen names and images, scammers create profiles on

popular social media pages to appear genuine in the online discourse. While some scammers attempt to collect donations from donors, others aim to gain access to the bank

accounts of the victims themselves, such as those claiming to be from the Australian Flooding Agency, which does not exist. The latter contacts victims directly or leaves

comments offering help and asking victims to contact them. The scammers will then offer relief funds and ask the victim to register and provide bank details so payments can

be made directly into their accounts. Once they have those details, they can gain access to the bank accounts, where they will wait for genuine relief payments to be made

and steal them.Thriving on 'high emotion' Targeting vulnerable communities is nothing new for scammers and Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said she was not

surprised to hear of an increase in fraudulent activity in the Kimberley.