Government fair trading agencies have recently received reports of an email purporting to be from the 'Australian Office of Fair Trading'. Recipients are informed that their complaint has been recorded, and they should make a hard copy record by printing out the attached document. The attachment contains a potentially damaging virus, and the email appears to be related to a phishing exercise.

The Australian Office of Fair Trading does not exist, although its name appears intended to imitate the various state and territory offices of fair trading in Australia. The originating email address purports to be ' @', which is not a valid address, but resembles those used by the ACT Office of Fair Trading. The ACT Office of Fair Trading has received a number of inquiries on this matter and seeks to answer them with a media release on its website: Media Alert—23 August 2007: ACT Fair Trading is victim of email scam (link no longer available).

In addition to the information above, the media release states that the email addresses of recipients have not been obtained from the databases of the ACT Office of Fair Trading; there is no indication of a security issue with any of the databases maintained by the ACT Government.

Consumers are warned to delete the email as soon as they recognise it, and to contact their internet service provider or other source of technical support if they have opened the attachment. Any links in the email should not be followed, and consumers should not reply to it, nor should they open the attachment. Consumers are reminded that up-to-date virus protection and spam filtering on email accounts are essential for all computers.

Back to the SCAMwatch radar.

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Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.