BiG Tips: Have you been the victim of dodgey products or services, misrepresentations, lies, even scams affecting your money or finances, or generally as a consumer? Part 1 of this series gives you 10 free, detailed University of Washington video lectures explaining the concepts behind, what is, and how to fact check and suss out bullshit and misinformation. Part 2 expands on these in an Australian context. Here in Part 3, BiG shows you some government and non government sites and resources to help you identify common lies, misinformation and scams, and where and how to report them and seek redress.
BiG’s Guru Cops to might give you some ideas too.
Common lies, misinformation and scams, and where to get help
Decoding the Gurus [Podcast] Christopher Cavanagh (Aus psychologist)and Matthew Browne (Northern Irish anthropologist) say they: “take a close look at the contemporary crop of ‘secular gurus’, iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.
Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all… What’s it all About?
Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?
Join us and let’s find out!”
Money and Finance
”MoneySmart (ASIC) lists companies not licensed to give financial advice, or their Online stockbroking scams list. This website they say: “is for all Australians – young or old, rich or poor, investing or paying off debt. We offer free, independent guidance so you can make the best choices for your money. We are not selling you anything. And when life puts your finances under stress, MoneySmart is here to help you ride the storm. We have smart tips on dealing with the ups and downs of life: losing your job, having a baby, divorce or separation, buying a home, losing your partner and many more.”
Here’s their warning list of common tricks:
- COVID-19 phishing scams Directing you to a fake website
- Stopping you pulling out of the deal
- Threatening legal action
- Using social media to approach you or your friends
- Artificially inflating the share price
- Passing your call along the line
- Calling or emailing you persistently
- Operating from overseas
ASIC suggests you ask questions and request information such as:
- What is your name and what company do you represent?
- Who owns your company?
- Does your company have an AFS licence and what is the licence number?
- What is your address?
- Is your investing prospectus registered with ASIC?
Check the legitimacy of the person offering the investment
The best way to protect yourself is through awareness and education. The Little Black Book of Scams is recognised internationally as an important tool for consumers and small businesses to learn about scams including:ACCC
- the most common scams to watch out for
- the different ways scammers can contact you
- the tools scammers use to trick you
- the warning signs
- how to protect yourself, and
- where you can find help.”
Types of Scams:
- Current COVID-19 (coronavirus) scams
- Attempts to gain your personal information
- Buying or selling
- Dating & romance
- Fake charities
- Jobs & employment
- Threats & extortion
- Unexpected money
- Unexpected winnings
- Flubot scams
AFCA The Australian Financial Complaints Authority they say: “considers complaints that previously would have been handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. We are the dispute resolution scheme for financial services. We consider complaints about:
- credit, finance and loans
- banking deposits and payments
- investments and financial advice
Consumer Scams generally
Choice They say “is ‘independent and transparent … [its] one clear mission: to ensure the consumer voice is heard loudly and clearly… [it] empowers consumers to get the most out of all their purchasing decisions by providing a mix of advocacy and advice… the people’s watchdog … constantly looking out for misleading or unhelpful practices that stop you from getting the best deal. The leading consumer advocacy group in Australia … [it]campaigns to protect and assist consumers through changes to laws and industry behaviour… completely self-funded [it] prides itself on delivering expert, unbiased information you can trust.”
Victoria’s Consumer Action Law Centre is a great resource.
Franchises (mediation services), accc.gov.au
Horticulture (mediation services), accc.gov.au
Medicine and Health
Friends of Science in Medicine, Australia
How Fake Science Can Fool You (YouTube) Wisecrack (USA).
Pseudoscience: It’s easy to mock it, and even easier to fall for it.Wisecrack (USA)
Anti-Vaxxers: What Went Wrong, Wisecrack (YouTube)