Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Be wary of telephone scam, says resident

A Ballendella man says he was close to being the victim of a telephone scam recently and wants to warn others in the area about it.

ELAINE COONEY January 22, 2013 3:30pm

A Ballendella resident wants to alert other district residents about a telephone scam in the area.

He said he recently received a phone call from a man with a foreign accent posing as a Telstra call centre worker asking him to pay his overdue bill.

As the man admitted he sometimes forgot to pay his bills, he believed this could have been the case.

The caller said his bill was due to be paid on January 15 and unless he gave his credit card details over the phone. he would be disconnected immediately.

‘‘Everything fitted into place,’’ he said.

He said the caller became quite forceful insisting the bill was paid straight away.

He was wary about giving his credit card details over the phone, so told the caller he would call back when he checked his bill.

When he returned home, he realised his bill was paid on January 10 and called Telstra to ask about the phone call.

He said he was told that a call was not made from the Telstra centre and his bill had been recognised as paid in their systems.

A spokesperson from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the organisation was aware of similar scams.

He said a widespread scam is a caller posing as a consultant from the tax office offering a tax return in return for a minimal payment.

He said another was a caller posing as a bank official claiming the bank overcharged the customer a bank fee and wished to clarify bank details in order for the fee to be refunded.

The ACCC gave the following tips for dealing with a suspicious phone call:

If you receive a phone call out of the blue, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent.

Do not give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognise.

Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be very expensive.

Look out for SMS and MMS numbers that start with 19. These are charged at a premium rate (sometimes even for receiving a message) and can be very expensive.

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