Topics:  conmen, legacy, phone scammers

Phone scammers rip off elderly

Tom Cross of Grafton - warning about a scam involving safety pendants worn by Legacy widows.
Tom Cross of Grafton - warning about a scam involving safety pendants worn by Legacy widows. Adam Hourigan

LEGACY widows are being targetted by phone scammers telling them their safety device pendant is faulty and can be fixed for a small fee.

A safety device pendant forms part of a medical alert system for the elderly.

The pendant/pager device is worn around the neck and a button pressed in the case of a medical emergency with the device triggering a welfare call from the relevant company or the dispatch of an ambulance.

Grafton Legacy president Tom Cross said the scammers were impersonating the regular calls made by the device company to check on clients' welfare and test the pendant.

The caller then tells their elderly victim, many of them not as quick on their feet as they used to be, that the pager is faulty but can be fixed for a small fee charged to their credit card.

Of course once the card details are provided, far more than a "small fee" is debited, Mr Cross said.

He said three Legacy women had been caught out by the scam with one woman fleeced of a "considerable" sum of money in the past three weeks.

"They are very embarrassed about it," he said.

"These are mongrels - no different to the bloke who'll mug you on the street and kick you and take your money, now they've just found an easier way to do it.

"You simply can't take a phone call on face value."

Mr Cross said scamming companies had started using American-accented callers rather than the regular Asian or Indian accents to further trick their victims.



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