Member for Richmond and parliamentary secretary for trade Justine Elliot is warning about yet another lot of scams targeting north coast residents, mostly by phone.
Locals should be wary of scammers claiming to be from an Australian government ‘reclaims department’ who are phishing for important personal data and bank account details, said Ms Elliot.
Scammers call unsuspecting consumers claiming to be from a major government agency, like the Australian Taxation Office, or the Department of Finance, and offering to provide a refund of overpaid taxes and charges, sometimes up to thousands of dollars, in return for providing personal information and bank and credit card details.
‘If someone calls you out of the blue offering to give you money in exchange for your personal information – even if they claim to be from the government or your bank – be very sceptical,’ said Justine.
‘Identity theft is a serious crime and can cost people thousands of dollars and sometimes years of misery.
‘Scams are becoming more sophisticated, often providing people with reference codes, call-back numbers and addresses in an attempt to look genuine.
‘In general, government agencies will not call you to ask for your personal information over the phone. If you have any doubts or suspicions that a call you receive may be a scam, you should contact the Scamwatch website or infocentre immediately.’
There are simple steps you can take to avoid becoming the victim of a scam:
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Never send your credit card or bank account details to anyone you don’t trust.
Do not agree to offers or deals straight away; tell the person that you are not interested or that you want to get some independent advice before making a decision.
Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
‘Consumers can also keep up to date with the latest scams on the ACCC website, Scamwatch.gov.au, where you can also sign up for regular email alerts,’ Justine said.
If you would like to report a scam, contact the Scamwatch ACCC Infocentre on 1300 795 995, or contact your local police.