• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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Chinese cybercrime hits Australian major events and tourist attractions in sophisticated social media scam

06 /04/ 2017 Comments are Closed

Some of Australia’s best-loved attractions and events are being hit by a sophisticated scam operating through Chinese social media platform WeChat, stealing potentially millions from Australian businesses.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) today launches an awareness campaign of the issue, after canvassing Victorian businesses on the impact of the fraud.

Nine members of VTIC, including major city and regional attractions have reported being affected, with a cumulated loss of more than $350,000 to March, which does not include the bank fees or lost sales.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said this issue was more widespread and pervasive than it appeared when the scam first emerged last year.

“Last year, Sydney Harbour Bridge climb reported it had lost more than $100,000, and we were aware some Victorian operators had been hit, but we discovered this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“Some of our most famous tourism attractions, like the penguin parade at Phillip Island, are getting defrauded every day, to the point where they have people checking online bookings before the doors open to suspend tickets they believe may have been fraudulently paid for.

“This is a sophisticated scam where there is no limit as to who could be affected, and we have concerns that any Australian businesses that provide a ticketing system or service payable online could be targeted.”

Victoria Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Brad Ostermeyer said the scale of the issue became more apparent after VTIC convened a meeting of major tourism operators, including Eureka SkyDeck, Peninsula Hot Springs, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Skybus, Sovereign Hill and Global Ballooning and found the sum lost was hundreds of thousands of dollars at a minimum.

“It quickly became clear that tourism operators were handling this problem as isolated incidents when it is major fraud happening across the country,” Mr Ostermeyer said.

“We want to raise awareness of the issue and are calling for all affected Victorian businesses to contact us. Particularly smaller operators who may not know they have been affected need to report it to the police. For some small or family operated attractions, these losses could threaten their business.”

VTIC

About the Author

VTIC

The voice of the Victorian tourism industry, representing key industry associations, operators and government agencies.

Media Manager:

Media enquiries: media@victorianchamber.com.au,

Anne Wright, Media and Communications Manager, (03) 8662 5310 / 0423 883 945

Ellana Katos, Social Media and Communications Advisor, (03) 8662 5205 / 0400 976 889

Events

february

07feb9:00 am5:00 pmDestination Melbourne presents: Masterclass- Marketing to Chinese Visitors9:00 am - 5:00 pm Citadines on Bourke Melbourne

07feb5:30 pm7:30 pmVTIC 2018 Mixer Series - February Tourism Networking Event5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Novotel Melbourne St Kilda

13feb5:30 pm8:00 pmVictorian Chamber presents: Fast Forward speed networking5:30 pm - 8:00 pm Venue TBC

21feb10:30 am11:30 amVTIC Webinar Series: Fair Work Commission UpdateSAVE THE DATE10:30 am - 11:30 am

28feb9:00 am3:00 pm2018 VTIC Visitor Economy Forum & Tourism Australia Industry Briefing9:00 am - 3:00 pm Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

march

07mar5:30 pm7:30 pmVTIC 2018 Mixer Series - March Tourism Networking EventConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Novotel Melbourne St Kilda

15mar9:30 am5:30 pmTourism Australia's Destination Australia Conference 20189:30 am - 5:30 pm The Glasshouse

19mar9:00 am11:00 amDestination Melbourne presents: Tapping into Tourism9:00 am - 11:00 am Willis Room, Whitehorse Civic Centre

21mar10:30 am11:30 amVTIC Webinar Series: PR for Tourism Businesses - Telling your storiesImproving the world, one webinar at a time!10:30 am - 11:30 am

23mar7:45 am10:00 amVictorian Chamber presents: Grand Prix Breakfast7:45 am - 10:00 am Albert Park

april

04apr5:30 pm7:30 pmVTIC 2018 Mixer Series - April Tourism Networking EventConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

18apr10:30 am11:30 amVTIC Webinar Series - Risk Management 101Improving the world, one webinar at a time!10:30 am - 11:30 am

may

02may5:30 pm7:30 pmVTIC 2018 Mixer Series - May Tourism Networking EventConnect and reconnect at our monthly mixers5:30 pm - 7:30 pm Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

31may9:00 am5:00 pmDestination Melbourne presents: Melbourne LIVE9:00 am - 5:00 pm Arts Centre Melbourne - The Pavilion

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