Warwick Rodeo targeted by ‘scammers’
THE Warwick Rodeo has become the latest target of online scammers who have set their sights on agricultural events across the region.
Through fake ‘events’ on social media, ticket sales and livestreaming links, those trying to buy tickets to the Warwick Rodeo and already-cancelled Texas Show could instead be ripped off.
Warwick Show and Rodeo Society events and marketing co-ordinator Teilah McKelvey said some of the Facebook events were so convincing that even she did a double-take.
“It’s something that’s happening more and more regularly, unfortunately,” Mrs McKelvey said.
“Scammers set up fake events and ticketing links to livestreaming as a ploy to make a profit off our events.
“It happened at last year as well, and it was absolutely rife then, too.”
Mrs McKelvey said she believed the scammers were based overseas.
“When you go into our event, it should say it’s hosted by the Warwick Show and Rodeo Society Inc,” Mrs McKelvey said.
“(Scammers) do it every time there’s big events, and every time we delete and block one, they make another almost straight away.”
Mrs McKelvey stressed that any apparent rodeo tickets available now were not legitimate.
“We’re making a decision at the end of July as to what’s going to happen (with the rodeo), so we won’t be releasing any tickets until at least then, that’s for sure.”
As coronavirus restrictions push more of the state’s agricultural events onto online platforms, Queensland Ag Shows general manager Trevor Beckingham said it was more important than ever to remain vigilant.
“Communities are trying to re-engage and get some support behind their activities, and with the easing of restrictions it’s becoming a bit easier to tell which events might go ahead,” Mr Beckingham said.
“You need to be taking normal precautions, and be aware of it, so you don’t get scammed or adversely affected by people looking to take advantage.
“If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, it probably is a rat, and you just need to be careful of it and take adequate precautions.”
For Warwick Police acting officer-in-charge Shane Reid, this was a stark reminder that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
“With social media, it’s one of those things that people need to do their own verification checks as to the legitimacy of what’s being offered,” Sgt Reid said.
“Our normal advice is not to provide any sort of personal details or financial institution details – if for whatever reason you have, contact the institution straight away and put a freeze on your account.
“If anyone believes there is an attempt for them to be scammed, or if they’ve been involved in any sort of scam, they should file a report through Queensland Police ‘Cybercrime’ system.”