WARNINGS of telephone scams are spreading throughout the community with people urged to be cautious of suspicious calls.
Those demanding payment for a range of services and goods, including Apple iTunes gift cards are in particular a cause of concern.
This follows a Mount Gambier woman this week being fleeced hundreds of dollars through an elaborate telephone scam.
It is understood other people have also been targeted in Mount Gambier with the “Centrelink scam”.
Police have also reiterated the importance of retailers selling iTunes cards to question customers – particularly older people – making bulk purchases.
A Mount Gambier resident – who wants to remain anonymous – warned people not to be tricked into buying hundreds of dollars of iTunes cards.
She claimed she received a phone call from a person saying they were from Centrelink and she was owed $2200 in back-payments due to changes introduced by the Federal Government.
“They were so convincing, I’m appealing to people not to get caught,” the resident said yesterday.
“I am usually pretty tuned into these things, I cannot believe I did this.”
The woman purchased $400 of iTunes cards from a Mount Gambier retailer and then forwarded the card numbers to the scammers.
“They asked me for another $600 in iTunes cards, which I thought was a bit strange,” the resident told The Border Watch.
The resident said she told a family member who told her it was a scam and for her to hang up on them.
“I appeal to retailers who sell iTunes cards to ask particularly older people why they are buying them so they could be alerted it could be a scam,” she said.
Limestone Coast Police Sergeant Andy Stott – who is the manager of the crime prevention section – also called on residents to remain on high alert regarding possible scams.
He said no government departments or banks ever asked for payment via iTunes cards.
Sgt Stott said he also appealed to retailers of iTunes cards to be aware of the issue and ask people why they were purchasing bulk iTunes cards.
Police have already visited iTunes retailers across the region highlighting the issue.
“There is no way an older person should be sold bulk iTunes cards unless they are queried why they are making the purchase,” Sgt Stott said.
In particular, the police sergeant said older people may not understand what iTunes cards were used for.
The Department of Human Services warns people to be aware of the growing threat of scam emails, phone calls, SMS and
Facebook messages pretending to be from the department.
“The number of scams being reported has increased in recent years and new types of scams emerge regularly,” according to the department.
“We remind people to be cautious if they are contacted by someone claiming to be from the government.”
The department never asks people to:
• Send personal information by email, SMS or social media,
• Transfer money or purchase gift cards or vouchers, such as iTunes cards, to receive a payment or service,
• Provide passwords or personal identification numbers to bank accounts,
People should report a scam to ScamWatch and can also contact police on 131 444.
If someone has provided their personal details to a scammer, such as their Centrelink customer reference number, Medicare card number, full name, date of birth, address or email, they should contact the department’s website.