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Byron Shire
December 2, 2023

Pensioners: beware of new phone scam

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On Wednesday evening a Byron Shire resident received a scam call on their landline – which is an unlisted number, and on the Do Not Call Register. The caller was a woman with a foreign accent.

The caller claimed to be from ‘the telephone department’ which the resident, (who asks not to be named), said was the second immediate clue; the first was that it was at 18:30, scammer call time.

The caller claimed (1) that the number had been delisted from the DNC Register on 3 February (it was not); (2) that it would be reinstated as for all pensioners; and (3) that from next month the resident would receive a 25 per cent discount on their telephone bill because they were a pensioner.

The resident says the scary part was that she knew so much information. ’She knew my age, that I was a pensioner, my address (the only people who know that particular address are Telstra!), and a few other non-public details,’ they said. ‘Because I’m extremely security conscious when it comes to phone and internet I was curious as to how much she knew.

‘I decided to play along for a while just to waste her time.

‘Throughout the call all her questions were of the closed variety, i.e. just requiring a Yes or No answer. I’m not so stupid as to use either word in a phone call from an unknown source, and answered only with “Perhaps”, “Maybe”, or “I see”, lest a recorded Yes be used to subscribe me to some 19… premium service (as is a common scam, for which both Telstra and Optus have recently been hit with $10M fines).

‘It was only when I challenged her with “And who is my telephone service provider?” that she stumbled: she said Telstra – which it isn’t. At my next challenge – “What is your organisation’s phone number?” (there was no caller number displayed, as is typical) she abruptly hung up – after I had wasted 10 minutes of her time.’

The resident says their phone provider knew nothing of any 25% discount, and ACMA confirmed this morning that the call was indeed a scam.

This appears to be a new variant of scam call, so be aware and warn your friends. Save some pensioner from similar scams.

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  1. A variation on the scam is someone phoning you in the late afternoon, with a clear, well spoken native English speaker’s voice. She tells me that unless I change over to NBN within 24 hours my internet service will close down. I know this is rubbish so just put the phone down. She rang 5 times over two days!
    I live in the Northern Rivers region too, so clearly they put us on some cycle for calls based on our initial 4 digit identifying numbers.


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