Consumer Protection’s general advice line and regional offices have been getting lots of reports from Western Australians who have received a phone call from scammers claiming to be from the Federal Government. The caller offers either a rebate or refund of overcharged fees.
The amount being offered seems to consistently be around $7,000 and the consumer is asked to pay hundreds of dollars in order to obtain the money owed to them. Wire transfer (Western Union or Moneygram) seems to be the preferred payment method, although they may ask for payment via an electronic voucher like Ukash, direct bank transfer or credit card.
It is understood that the scammers may be playing on a recent Federal Court ruling that ordered National Australia Bank (NAB) to pay back late payment fees. But consumers who wish to join that class action need to do so by contacting Financial Redress (www.financialredress.com.au) and will NOT receive an unexpected phone call inviting them to be part of it.
This latest phone scam is simply a new variation of previous phone scams offering to help consumers reclaim bank fees, obtain Australian Tax Office refunds or other Government rebates in return for up-front fees.
In addition to these there are the ongoing ‘tech support’ scams, where the caller pretends to be from Microsoft, Telstra, Big Pond etc. wanting access to your computer.
WA ScamNet has further advice that can help you to identify these types of scams, as well as tips on scam prevention.
Remember, you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have your number listed on the Do Not Call register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently from black-market sources.