Major Australian tourist attractions are being attacked by an organized crime syndicate using stolen credit cards and the popular Chinese social media portal WeChat to run a multi-million dollar bill fraud. The scam has recently been discovered by operators of a small number of major tourist attractions in Victoria and NSW. However, the main figures in the tourism industry fear that the size and magnitude of ticket fraud are immense.
Australian Travel agencies warn of million-dollar scam targeting Chinese tourists
In Victoria, nine major tourism companies in recent months had to return almost $ 400,000 to legitimate credit card owners used by the union to purchase tickets for attractions such as Eureka Skydeck, Sovereign Hill in Ballarat and nearby Peninsula Hot Springs Of Rye.
"Clearly this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. I guess we're talking about millions of dollars nationwide," warned the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mark Stone, who also heads the state's tourism industry board And wants the members affected by the scam to contact the police. The scam has also hit Sydney's main tourist attractions, such as the BridgeClimb Harbor Bridge, which had to make tens of thousands of dollars in credit card repayments late last year. BridgeClimb CFO Max Futeran said, "I think this is a multi-million dollar problem ... there are a number of people in the industry who do not know this has been happening."
He said that tourism companies across the country should be reviewing their recent financial records to determine if there has been a recent increase in credit card "back-up charge."
The media has learned that the crime syndicate running Tourism Ticket Timing is recruiting Chinese students located in Australia to work for them as "agents" to promote discounted tickets via their own WeChat Networks. The scam includes tourist attraction tickets purchased with stolen credit cards that are sold at discounted prices to Chinese tourists not caught off guard through the WeChat social media platform, which is used by about 800 million Chinese.
The revelation of the tourism scam occurs as Australian law enforcement agencies are examining the organized subversion of Australia's visa system by criminal groups abroad to facilitate large-scale fraud. Police sources say that crime groups have sent credit card frauds to Australia by working with corruption in education and immigration agents that help scammers obtain student visas