Timely warning from retiree after scam bid

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

An Australind retiree has urged the community to remain vigilant after he was nearly coaxed into an elaborate fraud after being bombarded by almost 10 scam calls last week.

The 72-year-old man said he had been getting calls from scammers all week threatening to disconnect his internet and prevent him from connecting to the NBN ‘when it goes live’ – ploys he was wise to after already being connected to the NBN.

“I’m not the only one who’s had that,” he said.

“But this one yesterday was more blatant.”

On Thursday he received a call from a woman supposedly representing his bank who said he had been scammed of $2500 by a distant relative, $500 of which had been traced to the UK and the remaining $2000 to Columbia.

“She said ‘we’ll have to try and get this back’,” he said.

“Then I supposedly spoke to someone from Western Union in Columbia who said they could only refund me $500 now, the rest would take 90 days.”

In a series of subsequent tos and fros, the so-called bank representative settled a deal with the ‘Western Union rep’ which required the man to buy and send $1500 worth of Neosurf vouchers to an address.

“I went back inside and checked my accounts and nothing had been touched,” he said.

The bank confirmed the man’s accounts had not been accessed and so he called the scammer’s bluff when they called back later that day and reported the exchange to the ACCC.

“Other people need to hear about this, you need to be very wary,” he said.

Consumer protection South West regional coordinator Annetta Bellingeri described the man’s case as an advanced fraud scam and said scammers have been getting ever more elaborate in their schemes.

“Just because they have your name, address or phone number doesn’t mean they are who they say they are,” she said.

“If they start making claims, make sure you independently verify those claims with that family member or ideally with your bank.”

Ms Bellingeri added the NBN scam had been “doing the rounds” in the South West recently and said people had to remain vigilant at all times.

Earlier this month the owner of a well-known Harvey business lost $4000 to a buying and selling scam, just one of the many types of scams being used by scammers.

“You have to be wary of any out of the blue calls,” Ms Bellingeri said.

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