Littleproud slams tech platforms for allowing "parasites" to profiteer
20 March 2020, Written by David Simmons
With supermarket shelves stripped bare of many basic household goods panic buyers, hoarders and hawkers alike are taking advantage of the situation online.
Auction sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay have become popular outlets for those wanting to make a quick buck off those desperate for essential items.
This practice has attracted the ire of Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud, who is calling on tech giants to stamp out these "parasites".
"They are allowing parasites flog off things like toilet paper at ridiculously inflated prices," says Littleproud.
"These online companies have a duty to act ethically and shut down any attempts by these grubs to gouge the vulnerable.
"This is a low act and eBay and Facebook will be aiding the exploitation of anxious people during these challenging times if they do not act."
Littleproud has also called on Australians to come together in this moment of crisis, insisting Australia has plenty of fresh food and essential household goods to go around.
"Doesn't matter who you are, we are all in this together. We all need to show some common sense.
"Australia has plentiful fresh food supply with secure lines from the farm to the supermarket shelf.
"I ask people to take a deep breath and go about their shopping calmly and with courtesy, so there is plenty on the shelves for everyone."
Online Covid-19 scams take advantage of the anxious and vulnerable
Isolated, at home, and logged in; this is the position many of us are in right now. Throw in a good measure of anxiety and the 24-hour news cycle and it becomes very easy to lose sight of what's true or false.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged Australians to be aware of how scammers are taking advantage of technology and playing on our fears.
Since 1 January 2020 the ACCC's Scamwatch has received 94 reports of scams about coronavirus.
The watchdog has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that claim to be providing official information on coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data.
"Unfortunately, scammers are using the uncertainty around COVID-19, or coronavirus, to take advantage of people," says ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
"We've had a wide variety of scams reported to us, including fake online stores selling products claiming to be a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and stores selling products such as face masks and not providing the goods.
"There is no known vaccine or cure for coronavirus and a vaccine isn't expected to be available for 18 months. Do not buy any products that claim to prevent or cure you of COVID-19. They simply don't exist."
If you think you have been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons