Phone scam warning

Harry Bichel smelt a rat when he received a spam phone call last week. The Sarina man wants to warn other Mackay residents to have their wits about them.
Harry Bichel smelt a rat when he received a spam phone call last week. The Sarina man wants to warn other Mackay residents to have their wits about them. Contributed

WOULD you be able to identify a phone scam if you heard it?

Sarina resident Harry Bichel almost became a victim of identity fraud last Friday when he received a call from a woman who claimed to be from Telstra.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year, the number of telephone scams increased almost seven times in 2010.

Mr Bichel said the woman told him he could get a discount for his landline.

"Then she went over it again, and put me onto her (male) supervisor to confirm it," Mr Bichel said.

"He went through the whole lot again and asked for my date of birth.

"I said 'you've already got it' and he said he wanted to it re-confirm it.

"Then he said he needed a few more details and asked for my driver's licence and pensioner's number.

"They hung up as soon as I said 'hang on a minute'; he thought this man's too smart for me."

Mr Bichel said he had received scam calls before - up to a couple a week - but they were not as genuine sounding as this one.

"They went right through everything, all the charges; it really did sound genuine, until they asked me for more details.

"I did think it was a Telstra call. They did their homework.

"I don't have (caller identification) enabled so I couldn't track the number. I think it was an overseas call.

"I thought I had better let people know, because there are definitely a lot of people who would get sucked in.

"It was so good (legitimate) that I thought I would get sucked in."

Telstra area general manager Rachel Cliffe said she encouraged consumers to be wary of phone scams as the number of dodgy telephone calls and scam text messages continued to increase in Australia.

"Consumers should be alert to attempts by scammers to defraud them of money or to trick them into disclosing personal information," Ms Cliffe said.

"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 share 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.

"Don't respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you don't recognise."

To report scam phone calls, call the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or visit the SCAMwatch website

Topics:  accc identity fraud phone scam telstra

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