Two overseas backpackers have reported losing money after responding to a fake offer of accommodation and work as fruit pickers in Western Australia's South West region.
Consumer Protection is investigating and will close down the fake website - www.rossovineyard.com.au - which was set up using an ABN from a legitimate business registered in Canning Vale, in Perth's southeastern suburbs.
The tourists claimed to have transferred $200 each to a bank account in Victoria after they responded to an advertisement on the classifieds website Gumtree.
The Margaret River Wine Association has confirmed the vineyard does not exist.
On the website, the scammers appear to have gone to great lengths to post a thorough description of the fake vineyard, and have included photographs of accommodation and people picking fruit.
"You and your family are invited to visit our vineyards, learn how grapes are grown, and share in the harvest," the website says.
"We supply grapes to local grocery stores, fruit stands, and wineries."
In a pitch to backpackers, the fake website reads: "Farm work in Australia is a great way for backpackers to earn some cash and experience the friendly culture of regional Australia whilst travelling and enjoying the unique beauty of the great outdoors".
Consumer Protection commissioner Anne Driscoll said job seekers responding to advertisements should research any job offer and independently verify that a proposed place of employment was legitimate.
Contacting the council or an industry association could confirm if the offer was genuine, she said.
"Job seekers will receive extra protection if they deal through licensed employment agents who don't charge prospective employees, only employers," she said.