Watchout for Scammers
July 29, 2019
We have been asked by the federal health department to ask you to report suspicious activity to police amid reports that scammers are targeting older people who are receiving a home care package.
Australians aged over 65 submitted over 26,400 reports to Scamwatch in 2018, with losses of over $21.4 million. This represents an increase of five per cent in reports but 22 per cent in losses..
In the latest scam, home care recipients are contacted by people trying to lure them into upfront payment for “vouchers”, with the con artists promising this will get them a better home care package deal, according to the health department.
“In one reported case, a scammer advised the client they could offer a better Home Care Package deal and that they were eligible to receive a sum of money, but in order to receive this money they had to pay upfront through the purchase of vouchers,” it said.
“Service providers should encourage their clients to report any suspicious activity to them and the police.”
Another common scams are Investment scams. Older Australians looking to grow their nest eggs but who instead get caught up in investment scams reported losses of $7.6 million.
“Scammers will start with a cold call to their victim promising low risk investments for high returns. They may spend months grooming their victims and once a victim invests, they’re quickly convinced to put more and more money in. As soon as the victim tries to cash in on their investment, the scammer quickly disappears,” Ms Rickard (ACCC Deputy Chair) said.
Older people targeted by scammers
Reports of the scam emerged as National Seniors revealed the result of its 2018 annual survey indicating that older Australians are being targeted by a large number of scams.
Reported scams included bogus phone calls from Telstra, Microsoft and the Tax Office, as well as letters wanting to launder vast sums of money.
Others fell victim to computer extortion where money was demanded to remove a virus they had unwittingly put on their computer.
Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.