A Perth-based real estate agency has had its computer systems hacked, resulting in scammers publishing fake rental ads.
The fake advertisements and the email address used by the scammers, [email protected], are in the process of being removed online by Perth’s Department of Commerce.
The scammers gained login credentials for at least 10 different sites, including:
- The Home Page
- Million Dollar Listings
- On the House
The fake advertisements include rental properties priced at below market value, according to Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard.
“The ads feature very attractive properties at equally attractive rents, so we fear that many prospective tenants have already responded to the ads and have communicated or are currently communicating with the scammers via the [email protected] email address,” Mr Hillyard said.
“This may have involved the applicants providing personal and financial details which could result in their bank or credit card accounts being compromised or the applicants could be the victim of identity theft.
“Consumer Protection, together with the agency targeted, are currently working to identify the ads and have them removed and we are hoping to have the Gmail account closed down soon as well.”
Mr Hillyard said prospective tenants should be careful about the email address they use to communicate with advertisers, and to be suspicious if an advertiser prefers not to use online contact forms.
Prospective tenants who communicated with [email protected] are urged by the Department of Commerce to do the following:
- Stop all communication with the scammers;
- If bank or credit card account details were given, notify your bank and/or credit card provider and change any passwords;
- If money was sent, contact the bank, credit card provider or money transfer service used and try to stop or reverse the payment; and
- If any additional personal or financial information was given to the scammers, contact ID Care, an identity and cyber support service for Australia and New Zealand for advice.
Anyone who needs more information and advice can contact Consumer Protection at [email protected] or on 1300 30 40 54.