WeChat tourist attraction scam back in business – Sydney Morning Herald


Tourist operators reeling from the pandemic have copped a second hit: the re-emergence of a social media scam which targets the Chinese community with fraudulent offers of discounts to some of Victoria’s most popular attractions.

Advertisements posted on China’s ubiquitous social media platform WeChat reveal the extent of the racket, with Global Ballooning Australia, Geelong Adventure Park and ski operators at Mt Buller, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham all subject to fake promotions in recent months.

The well-organised scam has also targeted Jetstar airlines, Coles and Dan Murphy retail outlets, the Sea World theme park on the Gold Coast and the Sydney Zoo.

Melbourne-based Global Ballooning Australia has been hit this year by the WeChat-based scam.

Melbourne-based Global Ballooning Australia has been hit this year by the WeChat-based scam.Credit:Joe Armao

Although tourist operators have strengthened their defences against fraud with improved processes for identifying suspicious transactions and customer authentication, they are frustrated that criminal syndicates continue to exploit gaps in Australia’s banking system and law enforcement.

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This WeChat ad posted in January offered unlimited Jetstar flights for $1399. Jetstar confirmed the offer was bogus.

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