By Nicholas Farrington
Victims of cold calling scammers have almost doubled with 398 victims in WA reporting losses of $8 million dollars last year.
Scammers are tricking their victims into parting with their cash at almost double the rate from previous years, with 398 victims in WA reporting losses of $8 million dollars last year.
According to Consumer Protection WA Scamnet data, 34 victims purchased Itunes cards worth $116,909 in 2017. Almost doubling the 17 victims and $68,637 figure 2016.
The scammers pretend to be from the Australian Taxation Office or Telstra and tell their targets they must repay a debt, assist in catching a hacker in the act, or repay a credit that has appeared in their bank account.
Although the amount of scam victims has doubled, the losses were less than the 2016 total.
Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston commented on the alarming trend;
“It’s disturbing to see scammers get away with these heartless, criminal activities especially as it’s mainly vulnerable, senior members of our community that are targeted.”
One target was Jacques from Canning Vale.
Jacques was told there was a problem with his computer by a scammer impersonating a Telstra Support member.
Jacques was told to allow them to remotely access his computer by logging onto a website which he did, and he was then told to log onto his online banking accounts.
The scammers transferred $3,000 from one of Jacques own accounts to another and told him they had deposited it to catch a hacker they had found accessing his bank accounts.
The scammers told Jacques to repay the $3,000 by purchasing 1,500 dollars’ worth of gift cards from both Big W and Coles.
When Jacques bought gift cards instead of Itunes cards, he was told to go back and buy $1,000 dollars’ worth of Itunes cards.
When he returned to a Big W and noticed the scam warning posters he consulted his family who advised it was a scam.
Fortunately he received refunds for his purchases.