No doubt you have seen recently that scams are on the rise, and right now vile crims from all over the world are targeting older people. Recently, the ARA offices received an automated phonecall from an organisation purporting to be the Department of Human Services. The scammers said that they had tried to contact us, their client, in relation to some paperwork about a pension back payment we were owed. They gave us a bodgy account number and asked us to call a phone number which appeared to be from Canberra.
After speaking with them, we quickly figured out that it was a scam. ARA has confirmed with Centrelink that indeed it was.
Recognising a scam
There are few things to be aware of that will give away a scam quite quickly, including:
- Calls from overseas phone numbers;
- A delay in the outgoing and incoming audio;
- Unwillingness to give you information;
- Unprofessionalism in the way they address you;
- They will ask for some kind of payment from you, usually in the form of gift cards (Coles, Kmart, Australia Post Visa gift cards for example); and
- They can not give you any details about themselves or you.
If you do receive a call from anyone you are not sure about, ask for their details but don’t give them any of your personal details, no matter how convincing they sound. You always have the right to say nothing, make enquiries to confirm their validity and then call them back. Be especially on guard if you get a call from either the Tax Office or Centrelink as these are common scam calls. Please call our office on 03 9853 1688 and we will be glad to check if the call is legitimate.
If you suspect you have received a scam phone call, call ScamWatch on 1300 795 995 and report it. The people at ScamWatch are sending us brochures about common scams and how to spot them, which we will be distributing both in our offices and in the post.
Thanks, and keep vigilant.