Scammers have been calling residents of the Bega Valley Shire, conning victims into thinking they are entitled to additional Centrelink payments, such as for their pension.
Sapphire Coast local Anne Knight said she received a phone from the scammers on Friday, June 8.
“They said I haven’t answered my letters and that I should ring the head office, they gave me a phone number to call which even looked like a local number,” she said.
Ms Knight called the ‘head office’ number out of curiosity.
“They answered as Centrelink and then asked for my name, address and pension number.
“They said in order for me to receive a cheque for back payments I needed to pay a release fee of iTunes cards – as soon as I heard that I hung up,” she said.
Ms Knight warns residents to be careful when answering the phone, “you think its all kosher to start with – but it’s not.”
Reports to Scamwatch show there are three common scam examples the ACCC is currently seeing where scammers are demanding iTunes gift cards as payment:
Tax scams – the scammer pretends to be from the Australian Taxation Office and claim there is a warrant out for their victim’s arrest. If the victim doesn’t pay an immediate ‘fine’ using iTunes gift cards, the scammer claims police will come and handcuff them.
Catch-a-hacker scam – scammers pretending to be Telstra will ask their victim to help them catch a ‘hacker’ who’s trying to get into their PC or smart devices. They’ll use this sham story to get the victim to buy iTunes cards as a ‘trap’ for catching the hacker. Unfortunately the scammer will quickly get the serial numbers for those gift cards and sell them before the victim realises they’ve been duped.
Centrelink scams – the scammer pretends to be from Centrelink and tells their victim they’re entitled to an additional payment, such as for their pension, and that they need to pay a ‘release fee’ in iTunes gift cards to receive the payment.
The ACC said that payment to the scammers via iTunes cards is near impossible to get your money back.
“If you pay for a scammer’s con with iTunes gift cards it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. Don’t ever believe the scammer’s lies, no matter how convincing they sound—hang up on their calls and delete their emails immediately.”
People targeted by scammers asking for iTunes gift cards as payment can report the scam to Scamwatch.