Ballina detective shares top tips for avoiding scammers

POLICE from Richmond Local Area Command have warned that there has been a recent increase in fraud related crime in particular computer/internet fraud or identity theft.

With the advancements in technology most families have computers, the internet, credit cards and online banking, police said, and while these facilities can make our busy lives easier, this convenience can also make us more vulnerable to criminals.

Ballina Detective Sergeant Mick Smith said a common method being used in Australia that has targeted persons in this area is where a victim receives a call from a male or female claiming to be an employee of a phone company, internet company or even the victims banking facility.

"The offender informs the victim that there is a problem with their telephone/internet/or bank account and offers to sell a program or update for a small fee that will fix the problem," Sergeant Smith said.

"They then ask for the victims credit card details or online banking details to pay for the fee.

"Once those details are revealed to the offender they have the victims credit card or banking details which they either use to create a duplicate card or use for online or internet purchases." 

Some victims have lost thousands of dollars to this scam, he said.

Remember your bank will not need your credit card details.

"Our advice is - if you receive one of these calls either ask for the callers contact details and/or offer to ring them back," Sergeant Smith said.

"Then check and see if the contact details match the company they claim to be from.

"You can also do this quite easily by searching the net. Most legitimate organisations also have after hours contact numbers.

"An even safer method of banking is to attend the branch of your banking institution or the office of your telephone company and do your business in person.

"Your credit card number and other details should be protected as if it was cash money and should only be revealed to legitimate websites."

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