Phone adverts exposed as scam

AN advertisement offering cheap mobile phone and computer deals through the Perth Voice last weekend has been exposed as a likely scam.

The ad, purportedly from Pacific Mobile Phones, offered “Buy 3 get 1 free” on a range of latest-model phones, but provided only email or skype addresses as contact points. It has run in a variety of publications throughout WA, the earliest the Voice could locate being in April this year when it appeared in XPresss.

The advert was to have run in the Voice’s sister publication the Fremantle Herald before staff became suspicious and started doing some digging.

It turns out Pacific Mobile Phones is a defunct company from New South Wales, and an address provided in Queensland was non-existent.

When the Voice used the Skype address on the ad to contact the scammers in the hopes of finding a physical address, apart from being assured “you will never regret in doing business with us” we were directed to a run-down building in Manchester which is home to an oddly large number of accountancy and solicitor firms.

One firm shares a family name with a fraudster now on the run in the UK for luring people into expensive mobile phone contracts with false promises. It was also the registered business place of Phone Planet, which according to a company check faces dissolution with a net debt of about A$3000.

Shortly after the advert was pulled, Consumer Protection confirmed it believed it was a sham which had been circulating widely in a variety of media and via pamphlets.

Acting commissioner Gary Newcombe said it appeared stolen credit cards had been used to pay for the adverts and glossy brochures, and there were other hallmarks of scammers.

He said anyone who paid money to Pacific Mobile Phones should contact WA Scamnet by calling 1300 304 054 or email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au.

by STEVE GRANT

893 Dymocks 10x3

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