The Department of Commerce in West Australia has warned remote communities of a phone scam defrauding people of thousands of dollars.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
25 Nov 2013 - 3:18 PM  UPDATED 25 Nov 2013 - 6:29 PM

A woman has reportedly lost $3000 through the Divas Chat app and is urging others to become more aware of such scams.

According to Scam Net, a West Australian consumer protection initiative, three women have been targeted and defrauded through the Divas Chat app.

"Divas Chat is a social media, social networking application for people in remote communities to use over the 3G network. Its low bandwidth so it doesn’t use a lot of data to do it which means it’s very appealing to people in remote communities because they don't have the greatest reception out there," Scam Net research officer Adam Evans said.

Mr Edwards works for the Scam Net website to raise internet awareness and provide guidance for concerned consumers.

"Number one tip, and it’s what we live by here at Scam Net, if it’s too good to be true it probably is," Mr Evans said.

The accessibility of Divas Chat, and the popularity of Social Media, is what drew the women in from communities around Carnarvon and Port Hedland in West Australia,

"[The women] want to be just like everyone else, they want to be included, they want to know what’s going on," Mr Evans said.

Even in Google Play’s online consumer review, the app is described as a "deadly chat site."

People not familiar with mobile technology and its capabilities are easy targets for scam artists.

"Most of the time we have found that the people behind these scams are from West Africa. It’s a common scam that broadly they’re called ‘Advanced B’ frauds. Basically you have to pay money to get money. In the real world we know that very rarely do you ever have to pay money up front to get that money to you," Mr Evans said.

The Chamber of Commerce has offices in rural and remote regions for people concerned about internet fraud.

If you have any concerns or know of anyone who may feel they are being scammed contact Scam Net at www.scamnet.wa.gov.au or the Department of Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54