Mayor warns against fraud

Acting Superintendent Chris Toohey with Mayor Rosanna Natoli.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Rosanna Natoli is urging the community to be alert to fake social media and messages that appear to be from her but in reality, are multiple impersonation attempts.

Mayor Natoli has one official Council Facebook account (Mayor Rosanna Natoli) but fake accounts have been set-up in her name.

As well as fake profile social media accounts, the scammers have allegedly been messaging and Skype calling people asking for personal information, bank details and organising meetings.

“Please know that I would never seek money from community members or send links to organise or join meetings via social media platforms,” Mayor Natoli said.

“To help keep everyone safe, please be vigilant.

“We encourage anyone who has received social media or other communications via a fake profile to report this behaviour to the social media network it’s occurring on, the Queensland Police Service and the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

“Don’t be fooled by these scammers and take steps to protect yourself from cybercrime.”

Sunshine Coast Council and Mayor Natoli have made reports to the Queensland Police Service and the Australian Cyber Security Centre and will continue to monitor the situation.

Sunshine Coast District Officer Acting Superintendent Chris Toohey said cybercrime was a criminal offence.

“Please be cautious when communicating with people online and if in doubt, do not engage,” A/Superintendent Toohey said.

“If you think you have provided your financial details or sent money to a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately and report the incident to police.”

Sunshine Council has also warned of scam phone callers saying they are from Council and asking residents for personal information or asking to visit their home.

The Council does not contact customers asking for personal information. If in doubt, please contact Council to verify the contact is legitimate.

They said impersonators were getting smarter and they’re making fake social media accounts harder to trace these days.

However, if an account is fake, there’s always a sign.

The Council said to be sure if a social media account is fake or not, check the following elements:

• An accounts “About” or “Details” information will usually contain no details or be blank if the account is fake.

• Impersonators will have a lower number of followers than a legitimate account.

• Incorrect spelling can be a good indicator of a fake page.

• Language that doesn’t match an account such as incorrect gender, age or public opinion.

• Low or no comments on posts.

• Fraud account may message personally giving financial advice or requesting “Donations”.