Identifying phone scams

Last week, YOURLifeChoices subscriber Barbara was the target of one of the variations of phone scams making the rounds. Barbara shares her experience to help you identify the scam.


I experienced a phone scam and wanted to inform your readers.

Last week I was hurrying to go out, not thinking too carefully, when an ‘Angelina Cooper’ rang me to say that she was from the ‘Reclaim Department of the Federal Government’. She had my address (phone book) and asked me to phone back the next morning and gave me a reference number. She sounded business like and informed, but was not prepared to answer questions and did not ask for money. I think this was to occur when I phoned back. I did give my birth date, the usual verification to give for ID purposes.

After I had hung up, alarm bells rang.  She did have a foreign accent, but then again Australia today is multicultural. ‘My address’ that she gave was not exact, the word ‘reclaim’ is usually not used; I think ‘rebate’ is the common term. Initially I thought the number was a Sydney one as it began with 02, but my bank advised it was an overseas number. I did not return the call, so she rang again, twice. It would have been very easy to have taken her seriously although she did not ask for money at the stage she reached with me. I checked by googling ‘Federal Government Reclaim Department’ and found information regarding this scam.

For more information on phone scams, read Drew’s article about phone scams on the rise.