Consumer Affairs Minister, Tony Robinson today warned Victorians to watch out for scammers claiming to represent banks, telcos or government departments and offering large refunds for overcharged fees.
In this scam, con artists either request the consumer pay a so-called tax of up to $300 through Western Union so the money owed can be released, or ask for bank account and other personal details for the purpose of identity theft.
Mr Robinson urged Victorians contacted with this bogus offer to ignore it, as banks and other institutions never require you to pay to release money they owe you and would never contact you by phone or email asking for your financial details.
“The Brumby Labor Government is standing up for all Victorians by making sure they can identify scams and protect themselves so they don’t lose their hard earned money or become victims of identity fraud,” he said.
“Scams often look and sound genuine. But don’t be fooled – never send money or give credit card or personal details to anyone you do not know and trust.
“This is the latest version of an old scam known as Advanced Fee Fraud, and it uses the name of banks and other well-known companies and institutions to gain legitimacy and get money and personal information out you.”
Mr Robinson advised there were a few simple steps Victorians could take to protect themselves from this kind of scam:
- Hang up on cold-callers asking for up-front fees to release money owed to you;
- Don’t respond immediately to any offers or deals. Take the time to check with your bank or other institution that the offer is genuine;
- Never click on a link provided in an unsolicited email as it will probably lead to a fake website designed to trap you;
- Never use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests or offers as it will probably connect you to scammers who will try to deceive you;
- Never provide personal details or transfer money to a company or person you do not know and trust.
“Always remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said.
“In the end, the only people who making money from this sort of scheme are the fraudsters trying to scam you.”
Last financial year, Consumer Affairs Victoria received around 260 enquiries and 10 formal complaints about this kind of scam.
For more information about scams, or to dob-in a suspected scam, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au