South Coast police have issued a warning about phone scammers attempting to coax local people out of their money ahead of Christmas.
Multiple reports have been received with people describing phone calls from someone claiming to represent either the NSW Police Force, the Australian Taxation Office, Telstra, or a financial institution.
Police say the caller talks of an outstanding bill or debt and/or a warrant for the person’s arrest. The scammer then instructs the person on the end of the line to hand over their personal and financial details.
People are warned to be wary of any requests for personal details or payments made over the phone.
The Australian Taxation Office will never:
- Threaten you with immediate arrest;
- Ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment;
- Ask you to pay a debt via iTunes vouchers, or pre-paid credit card or store gift cards;
- Ask you to provide personal information, such as your tax file number or credit card number, via email or SMS;
- Ask you to pay money into a personal bank account;
- Direct you to download files from the internet or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
Furthermore, SCAMWATCH has the following advice:
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up;
- If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search;
- Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book;
- Don’t let scammers press your buttons. Scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot;
- Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall;
- Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source;
- Never 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;
- Never give a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business;
- If you think your computer’s security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If you still have doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist;
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately;
- If you have lost money as a result of this type of scam, please report the matter to your local police station.
You can also report scams to the ACCC via SCAMWATCH or report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
Officers from the South Coast Police District are urging people not to give any personal details or to transfer any money to people over the phone.