9 scams that have left Clarence Valley victims out of pocket
A SCAMMER claiming to be the "taxation department" called a South Grafton woman this week telling her she was owed over $6000.
Scams are all too common these days and The Daily Examiner is regularly warning our readers to watch out for the latest tricks. Here's a list of some of the scams doing the rounds in the Clarence Valley recently:
1. Federal police subpoena scam
THE Australian Federal Police issued a warning in response to a scam email which purports to be from the organisation.
The email claims to be serving a subpoena on the recipient, complete with a case number, date and a warning that they must provide all relevant information within 15 days.
2. Facebook page offers cruise
POLICE issued a warning about a scam Facebook page that promises users the chance of winning prizes if they click on and share a link. The bogus page was called Royal Caribbean Australia.
"The Facebook Page is fraudulent and has no connection with Royal Caribbean and the prizes do not exist," police said.
- Australia Post will put a notice in your letter box if a package was undeliverable. Delete any email claiming to be from Australia Post about an undelivered package.
- Do not click on links or download files in emails you receive out of the blue - especially if they are executable (.exe) files or zip files. These files are likely to contain malware.
- If you are suspicious about a 'missed' parcel delivery, call the company directly to verify that the correspondence is genuine. Independently source the contact details through an internet search or phone book - do not rely on numbers provided.
- Buy yourself (or your business) a stand-alone hard drive for Christmas. These have become relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot if your computer is infected by malware or ransomware.
- Regularly back-up your computer's data on a separate hard drive. If your computer is infected by malware or ransomware you can restore the factory settings and easily re-install all of your software and data.
- To report a scam call the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or visit https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.
3. DEX alerted of two scams
THE Daily Examiner readers alerted us of two scams doing the rounds of the Valley in early February this year.
One involved an email that claimed to be from Australia Post, which states the possibility of being charged a daily rate of $1.26 for Australia Post to hold an item, and that to collect the item the recipient of the email should download an information label.
Another reader received a phone call telling her there was an amount of money owing to her from the Federal Government because she had been overcharged on a credit card.
Northern Rivers residents reported a similar 'Christmas parcel scam' bin which emails informed the recipient of a parcel to collect.
4. Police warn of 'convincing' infringement notice
THE Australian Federal Police warned people not to believe an email in which scammers imitate police with a fake traffic infringement notice.
"This scam did the rounds last year, and unfortunately it's reared its ugly head again," an AFP spokesperson said in January this year.
"Do not pay any money. Do not click on any links. Just delete it.
"We will NEVER send you a traffic infringement notice by email."
5. Android users attacked
ANDROID users in November, 2015 found themselves under attack by malicious software called ransomware.
National Mobile Phone Repair director Gary Finlay said the ransomware locked down the device and demanded a $200 ransom for the unlock.
6. Tropical holiday scam
IMAGINE receiving a winning scratchie ticket in the mail promising you $165,000 in riches and the chance to have a glorious holiday on tropical beaches overseas.
Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, it is.
A Northern Rivers man provided APN with evidence of one such scam from a Malaysian-based travel company "Baby Moon" holiday.
The elaborate package included a colourful brochure and two scratch and win tickets - one which revealed a "second prize" of $165,000.
A condition of the promised winnings was an obligation to "submit taxes or any other mandatory charges as a result of the award".
7. Fake Centrelink staff
BRAZEN scammers are impersonating government staffers to trick vulnerable Aussies into handing over money and bank account details.
There was a massive spike in calls to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the scam in November, which involves fake Centrelink and Department of Human Services "workers" who had fleeced four people of $3000 in the previous six months.
"One hundred people contacted the ACCC about this scam last month, compared with 20 reports in May," ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said.
8. Travelling conmen
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe warned all Clarence Valley residents to be vigilant of itinerant tradies, offering roof repairs, driveway sealing, tree lopping - any sort of handyman work, but only if you pay cash up front and agree on the spot.
The can be rogues with a brogue, blue-eyed bandits or charlatans charming the birds out of the trees, but invariably it's the vulnerable, the elderly and the economically disadvantaged who are their victims.
"Their chicanery knows no bounds. With a smile, a wink and often a beguiling accent, they knock on your door and make you believe they are doing you a favour," Mr Stowe said.
"They may offer to stop that leak, mend a broken tile or fix a rusty pipe - all for an unbelievable price and even offer to drive you to an ATM.
"They will then pocket the cash and either scarper before any work has started, or botch the job and leave you to clean up the mess. If someone comes knocking making an offer too good to be true, show them the door."
Mr Stowe said many of the travelling con men were of English or Irish origin, worked in gangs and targeted specific regions of NSW, staying one step ahead of the law and the misery they leave behind.
9. Woman says toddler died in order to get cash
A WOMAN who told strangers her toddler had died in order to obtain cash said she told the court just wanted to be released from prison in order to see her children.
During a two month spree Joanne Lee Marie Capewell told five different people, mostly pensioners, her child was dead or was severely ill in order to get cash to fuel her alcohol addiction.
She managed to obtain $370 from strangers in the two months.
REPORT SCAMS: Phone the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or visit www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.