Warrnambool resident warns others of phone scammers

A WARRNAMBOOL man has warned residents to be on guard for scams after he was recently targeted.

Kevin McCarthy, 74, said he got a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Department of Human Services who said he had been underpaid his pension.

WARNING: Kevin McCarthy is warning others about a phone scam telling people they've been underpaid their pension.

WARNING: Kevin McCarthy is warning others about a phone scam telling people they've been underpaid their pension.

He said he was told to contact a Canberra phone number which he did and he was told he was owed $2800 from Centrelink.

Mr McCarthy then phoned Centrelink who told him it was a scam.

“They (the scammers) rang back and I told them to nick off,” he said.

“I just thought something was a bit fishy.”

Kevin McCarthy

Mr McCarthy contacted the police and said he wanted the community to be aware.

“Especially for vulnerable people who might hand over their details without thinking,” he said.

“I just want to make sure no one gets caught out.”

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said it had become common for people purporting to be Centrelink or other government departments to scam people over the phone.

“It is happening all the time, we get thousands and thousands of complaints,” she told The Standard. “We see people losing large amounts of money and pensioners don’t have a lot to lose.”

She said often the person was told they were owed money and they needed to provide a payment via an iTunes card to access the money.

“No one (legitimate) will ever ask someone to pay money in order to get money,” she said. “Centrelink will never ask for your bank details over the phone.”

Ms Rickard said people should be very weary when they were contacted out of the blue by a government department. “Don’t give anyone your personal information,” she said. “Don’t give out your bank details to anyone.”

So far this year there have been $64 million lost in scams and 120,000 reports of scams in Australia.

For more information check out Scamwatch.

The Standard, Warrnambool