18.9 C
Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Scammers targeting Neighbourhood Centre users

Latest News

Police appeal for help to find missing teenagers

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate the boy and a girl who were last seen in Alstonville on Monday.

Other News

Indian restaurant’s Ballina fundraiser

S Haslam In India, thousands are dying needlessly from a lack of basic medical equipment, particularly oxygen concentrators. There is...

One-way traffic trial for the Byron Arts and Industry Estate

The trial is described by the council as a 'quick-win action' from the Byron Arts and Industry Estate Precinct Plan.

Greens mayoral candidate apologises to deputy mayor over Fast Buck$ scandal

The Greens’ Byron Shire mayoral candidate says he’s drafting an apology to current deputy mayor and fellow party member Sarah Ndiaye, after publicly defending a Fast Buck$.

Interview with magician James Galea

James Galea is no ordinary magician. He’s not the smarmy guy in purple velvet with a cage full of pigeons sawing women in half. In fact, James is proud to say he has never cut anyone in half.

Marvell Hall’s ‘Dangerously Poetic’ fundraiser

This Sunday Marvell Hall will host a tribute to some of the street-named fellows with poetry, music and portraits as a fundraiser for the hall.

Cartoon of the week – 19 May, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Mullumbimby & District Neighbourhood Centre. Photo supplied
Mullumbimby & District Neighbourhood Centre. Photo supplied

At least two men have been loitering around the Mullumbimby & District Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC) touting a dodgy online course they claim will ‘help people get a qualification and improve their standard of living,’ according to centre manager Julie Williams.

Ms Williams has contacted Echonetdaily to implore people not to take up the shonky offer.

‘It appears they have identified the MDNC as an opportunity and commenced their sales pitch on MDNC property,’ Ms Williams said.

‘Free’ laptop

‘These guys aim to get people signed up to a course, assuring them that the costs are covered through the commonwealth government’s VET FEE-HELP assistance scheme, and offering a free laptop computer.

‘The offer of a laptop was vehemently denied after I challenged them, however I know exactly what I heard when one of the MDNC volunteers was approached,’ Ms Williams told Echonetdaily.

‘When challenged these guys were aggressive and obnoxious, one threatened to continue to “help” people on the footpath to avoid being on Neighbourhood Centre property They were indignant that that we would not be supportive of their “helping” and endorse their presence.

‘They simply did not get it that by preying on the vulnerable on MDNC property there was an implication that we were endorsing them. They have never sought approval or permission.’

Ms Williams said that what the men were offering sounded very similar to offers currently being investigated by Fair Trading.

‘These online courses do not provide support and are often not appropriate for people who are struggling with literacy, mild disability, or simply have not had a lot of experience navigating the world of formal education. The offer of a free laptop is understandably enticing.’

Ms Williams added that there are education and training opportunities that can be accessed through a range of credible organizations for no little or no cost, that are provided in supportive environments.

‘These guys are deliberately targeting people who are vulnerable and who most likely will be left with more unaffordable expense and a growing debt,’ she said.

If any one has signed up to one of these courses, Ms Wiliams said there is a 10-day cooling-off period during which you can withdraw at no cost.

Contact Fair Trading for information on 133220 or go into the Neighbourhood Centre at 55 Dalley Street, Mullumbimby, which has offered to provide support through the process.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. Ms Williams, the men you were referring to, do in actual fact, work for a credible organisation which is registered as a training provider by the Government regulator, and are NOT being investigated by Dept of Fair Trading as has been implied by you.
    These courses are not “scams” nor are they “dodgy” or “shonky”, they are legitimate and yes, they are designed to “help people get a qualification & improve their standard of living”. Perhaps, if you had of talked to these men instead of “challenging” them, you may have realised that some of your customers could possibly have benefitted from the information being offered to them. I would presume, not all of the people who attend your centre are “vulnerable” nor “illiterate”. These guys are reaching out into our communities to show people who may not be aware, due to their limited resources, what is available to them should they wish to improve their skills.
    The costs for these courses are covered under the governments VET FEE HELP scheme for those who are not financial enough to pay their own costs. The student does not have to pay anything back to the government until they are employed AND earning $54,126.00 per annum. Incidentally, there is NO interest charged to the student which means, contrary to what you have stated, the debt does not grow.
    Ms Williams these guys are not “deliberately targeting people who are vulnerable”. The information they are offering is available to anyone from any walk of life.
    With all due respect, as you mentioned, the men were on MDNC property, perhaps you could have taken them aside to find out what they were on about before being judgemental and critical. You could have approached the situation with a little more consideration of the fact that this could have been a good thing and an opportunity for your customers to find out first hand what could be available to them to improve their skills with a view to future employment.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Corruption-riddled

Keith Duncan, Pimlico Thank God this corruption-riddled Berejiklian/Barilaro government does not have a majority in the NSW upper house. Environmentalists in NSW have just breathed...

Man jailed over South Golden Beach dog shooting

A local builder who shot his neighbour’s dog with a bow and arrow in South Golden Beach has been jailed after unsuccessfully appealing his conviction in the District Court.

Greens MP calls for greater workplace safety in government

Mia Armitage Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith has joined calls for improved workplace safety in government after accusations against a Byron Shire resident of...

Angsts, hopes and visions

Jo Faith, Newtown I love The Echo and all of the folk that passionately contribute their angsts, hopes and visions. How do The (struggling) Echo...