The season of giving is upon us or, as opportunistic scammers like to call it, the season of taking. Find out how to identify telephone scams and stay safe this festive season.
Today I received a phone call, which I believe was some sort of scam. The caller said it was in connection with money to be returned to me due to ‘overpayments’. They casually asked whether I would prefer the funds to be paid into my bank account or would I prefer a cheque?
To avoid handing out my account number, I opted for cheque. They already had my address but had to put me through to ‘head office’ for confirmation. I was given a reference and a phone number to call, which started with 02 so I presumed it was in Sydney.
Anyway I called the number and a woman answered “Refunds for overpayments”. After speaking for a minute or two she said she would put me on hold while she confirmed matters. It was not long after this that the line dropped out.
What I was wondering was if there actually is a phone number in Sydney how would one find out whose number it was?
Thanks for your help.
Hello Annie, it looks like you’re on the ball when it comes to detecting scams, as this phone call definitely seems suspect. The first thing to do in this situation is typically to do a quick Google search of the phone number which you were given.
With some luck, someone else will have reported the number and you’ll find pages where the scam has been reported, however this method may not always save you, as it can take scam prevention websites some time to become aware of and respond to threats.
If you are ever not entirely certain about a phone number which is given to you during a suspect phone call, look for it online.
For example, if the person on the phone is claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office, check their website’s contact section for that phone number or call them directly and give them the reference number that you were given. If they have no idea what you’re talking about, then it’s safe to say you’ve caught a scammer.
If you think you may have been the target of a scam you can report it at the SCAMwatch website.