Simply hang up on scam callers


October 23, 2013.  NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Stowe today issued a warning to consumers to hang up on scam calls and report to Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Mr Stowe said scam smart seniors in Hallidays Point on the mid north coast had reported receiving a scam call this week, with the scammer already having the first eight digits of the couple’s Visa debit card.

“The wife took the first call from a woman who said her name was Heidi,” he said. “Heidi claimed to be contacting the couple about bank fees owing to them due to over-charging and said that a refund was pending from the Commonwealth Government.

“She had the names and address of the couple but referred to the bank account being with another bank, which alerted the couple to the dubious nature of the call.

“The scam caller said they would need to fill out forms and also told the wife that Fair Trading would contact them the following day to provide advice on the amount they were owed.”

Mr Stowe said the husband became suspicious about why the Commonwealth Government would be involved in any bank refund owing.

“He also questioned why a state agency such as Fair Trading would be providing information about bank refunds,” he said.

“His wife refused to provide the additional digits for the account and then the caller reportedly became quite aggressive and said she would cancel the application form.

“When the scammer soon followed up with another call, the husband told the scammer not to call them and hung up. He also then cancelled their debit card.”

Mr Stowe said the bank refund scam was regularly reported to Fair Trading and commonly directed at seniors during business hours.

“Seniors are often home during the day and reports to Fair Trading suggest scammers are targeting this demographic because they get results,” he said.

“Older people unfortunately can fall for this approach, particularly when the scammers already have their personal details and information suggesting they are from a legitimate source.

“It’s important people know government agencies do not cold call and offer refunds or cash payments or ask for bank account or card details. Don’t respond to these offers. Hang up, report to authorities and warn your family, friends and neighbours about scams.”

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