National Consumer Fraud Week: how YLC saved Christina from a scam

We’d love to share a story with you about how we helped Christina avoid a scam.

National Consumer Fraud Week: how YLC saved Christina from a scam

As we wrap up National Consumer Fraud Week, we’d love to share a story with you about how, earlier this week, we helped Christina avoid a nasty scam.

Last Wednesday, we published the article Grandma conned in fake ATO scam, which told the tale of 67-year-old Glenice Harrison being fleeced out of $5000 by a cheeky fake Australian Tax Office (ATO) scam.

We really do try to keep you all informed of the latest scams and cons going about and, as a result, you often only hear the scary stories about people being nabbed by sly cyber criminals.

Today, with Christina's consent, we have a more positive scam story to share with you.

Christina wrote in to us yesterday to thank us for tipping her off to the fake ATO scam. Here’s what she had to say.

Thank you to the staff at YourLifeChoices. By reading your information, I have managed to avoid that ATO scam. I have also shared this story on my Facebook page.

"A Melbourne grandmother has been fleeced of $5000 after being conned by scammers claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO), so Consumer Affairs is warning all Australians to be vigilant about such fraudulent schemes."

Today I received a similar call from an unknown person stating that this is an automated message and that they were from the ATO claiming that they had sent me a registered letter that was returned to them unsigned. He continued rambling on about me owing tax and so on…

Firstly, I know the people in my local post office and I knew they would have advised me of any registered letter. Secondly, no slip was left in my mail box. Thirdly, everything goes through my accountant. So, after remembering your article, my response to them was “p*** off, you liars!” and I put the phone back on the hook. So thank you YourLifeChoices for the warning.

Once again I thank you for your newsletters, as they have proved very beneficial, reduced my anxieties, and really saved the day for us here in Adelaide. For a moment I was a very concerned retiree until I remembered your newsletter.

This is just one success story, but as you may have read in our Older Aussies popular scam targets article, older Australians are the primary targets of most cyber-crime. So long as we stay informed, we’ll have a better chance of avoiding these criminals and their fraudulent ways.

This week, we have been urging you all to ‘Wise Up to Scams’ and, along with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), we try to provide you with all the information you need to stay safe from crooked cons.

So, according to the ACCC, if the objectives of the 2016 National Consumer Fraud Week campaign were to:

  • raise awareness of the types of scams that target older Australians
  • educate older Australians on how to identify and avoid scams
  • provide older Australians with information on what to do if they've been scammed.

Then we hope we’ve assisted you all.

Here are some handy resources from the ACCC to further help you avoid being scammed.

Wise Up to Scams magnetic card
Targeting scams report on scam activity
Scam statistics

What do you think? Do our scam reports help you avoid being conned? Have you shared any of our reports with your friends and family? We’d love to hear about any successful scam sidestepping in which you may have been involved.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Chris B T
    20th May 2016
    There is a Federal election on July 2.
    The Scams and Schemes will fleece more than $5k off pensioners and might add they make it legal.
    Sad that happpened to that person, we have a Poor record of Governments doing far worse and Leaving the major tax avioders alone.
    The ATO used as a collecting agent.
    20th May 2016
    So Chris BT, what your inferring is that the current Govt employed public servants are the ones pulling the scam, how dumb are you.
    Chris B T
    20th May 2016
    Dumb Part belongs To All Who voted to have This and over Governments and there policies had only Fleeced The Pensioners.
    The schemes/Scams/Legislation has fleeced more overall then any another scam to pensioners.
    ATO has Powers by Legislation to recover ALL TAXES not Just Some.
    So Who are going to vote for Dumb or Dumber.
    20th May 2016
    Only way to not vote for Dumb or Dumber is to not vote. System is rigged so either of them gets your vote.
    Anne Ozzie
    20th May 2016
    To Chris B T and Bonny
    If you opt out of voting you cannot complain about the results. I think of the two parties ALP is probable preferable. NLP seems to support large multinationals who do not pay tax in this country and every other person who earns in the $200,000 + bracket!
    20th May 2016
    Well LNP does nothing for me but all Labor does is get spend, spend, spend and gets the country into big debts. Labor then loses power and blocks the LNP from fixing the economic mess they left behind.

    If LNP over supports those earning over $200,000 how did they ever get into power? More than 50% of the voting populations does not as yet earn over $200,000.

    So it's just a mater of thinking what is good for everyone and the country's future not what is in it for me selfish attitude.
    23rd May 2016
    Labor don't spend, spend, spend. They recognize the needs of society and they acknowledge that tax is the price of living in civilization, and those who benefit most from civilization should pay their way. Sadly, the LNP take the view that the less well off should foot all the bills so the more well off can party. And it's unfortunate that they fool a lot of people with their BS about being better managers of the economy, their lies about Labor spending, and their absurd nonsense claiming wealth ''trickles down''. It's been conclusive proved that it doesn't.

    I don't like either party, but let's be honest. The LNP have sent the national debt soaring, despite slashing the incomes of struggling families and pensioners and slashing essential services. They have put $11 billion into the pockets of the US Tax Office, supported continuing grossly unfair superannuation concessions that favour the well-off, formulated idiotic pension ''reforms'' that will send the cost of aged pensions and care skyrocketing, and given tax cuts only to the better off and to companies that won't use their benefit to grow because there's no increased demand to service.

    Oh, and don't forget their solutions to the problems of battlers:
    "Poor people don't drive cars''; ''get a better job'' and the doozy of them all, from someone who inherited mega millions, ''buy your kids a house''.

    Doesn't take much intelligence to see that the LNP has lost the plot and is totally inept. But sadly, we have a choice between inept and inept, and, in leaders, a corrupt bastard or fool.
    23rd May 2016
    And yes, we are all being scammed, by a stinking bunch of overpaid narcissistic psychopath politicians who spend their lives partying and figuring out ways to persecute the less fortunate.
    25th May 2016
    I think that not voting is the worst option available.

    In my opinion most of those who enter politics are reasonable people with good intentions. Unfortunately the effects of corruption by power, lavish incomes and lifestyle, plus party policies determined by the wealthy on one side, the unions on the other and the luddites in the middle mean that most quickly lose touch with the common people whom they pretend to represent.

    And, before someone jumps in to tell me how hard politicians work, I make the point that they have an army of staff to assist them, they are their own masters and can determine their own workload. In order of priorities their most important is getting re-elected. Honestly, does a member of parliament really work any harder than a brickie's labourer? If you are anywhere in the workforce, does a MP work harder than you?

    Members who have been in power for ages are untouchable, couldn't care less if they lose their seats at the next election because of what awaits them. You could live on 52 year old Joe Hockey's indexed for life pension(around $200,000) that he is already collecting couldn't you? And, in that position, you might even accept the post as an ambassador in the US for nothing more than the lurks and perks, without an annual salary of around $250,000. If you did that you might think that you were more of a lifter than a leaner, mightn't you?

    The older members are a lost cause, the younger ones are more vulnerable. What voters need to do is exploit the fear that exists in this group of losing their hard won but now comfortable existence. The following list if options, which is not exhaustive, would help new members to remain in the real world to some degree:

    1. Put the fear of the dole queues into them. Prevent them from being able to collect their lucrative pensions until they reach the normal retirement age which they have just raised to 70. This would come back to 60 or less in a heartbeat.

    2. Always vote for the opposition. The bad effect upon stable government would be offset by providing motivation to do a good and reasonable job by preventing them from getting too comfortable, realizing that they are casual employees. This would also provide some degree of understanding of how the increasing numbers of those employed as casuals feel.

    3. Never allow the government to control the senate. Had this been the case when Joe Hockey framed his first budget, Australia would now be a cruel place for those on welfare and those on low to middle class incomes.

    This election I simply can't bring myself to vote Labor, despite having done so in the past. I will vote for the Libs and then try to keep them under control by ensuring that they do not control the senate. I want the senate to perform its appropriate role as a house a house of review and not become the useless, pointless, expensive rubber stamp, contrary to the apparent wishes of our current P.M.
    29th May 2016
    wELL maxchugg, i wouldn't vote for labor or Libs, they are both screwing us right over. i hope after its all over, its a right bloody mess, cause turnbull may want to do the right thing, but obviously his workmates don't. and so they really run the show. They need to get over it really we don't need 20 subs. but sure we need to get the jobs UP and skills to continue before we lose them...They really needed to find a balance>and what i can see is, over the years, they are all hopeless, and screwing UP our medicare too boots. bloody shockers they are. Too set in their ways, worrying more about war mongering. than those that have struggled and worked hard. Time to give them a breather. WE really need to get rid of the lot

    20th May 2016
    Plain common sense seems to be a scarce commodity nowadays with people more eager to push the panic button rather than THINK, that is IF they are still able to. Regarding the ACCC and Scamwatch, they are as helpful as tits on a bull. It would be more fruitful to write to Les Patterson for help.
    Polly Esther
    20th May 2016
    Yes you are right about the ACCC & the so called Scamwatch.
    Jobs for the girls & boys? :-)
    20th May 2016
    There's a nasty one also appearing to be from the AFP asking you to front court and provide details via an email link.
    Unfortunately, I think this may fool a lot of unsuspecting people.
    20th May 2016
    R&M, YLC printed that yesterday.
    20th May 2016
    I got that one as well as couple of days ago. What gave it away for me was the number of spelling mistakes and poor syntax contained within the main message of the e-mail. And the fact it did not address me by name!
    20th May 2016
    Sorry Fast Eddie, I stand corrected because I was too busy to read yesterday's YLC.
    I'm just happy that the scammers are being named and shamed via sharing here! It's wonderful that Christina was alerted, the more they are exposed the better!
    20th May 2016
    Back to the real business of scams and not this nyah nyah nyah nonsense.

    Know of vehicle offered for sale on line (this is genuine side) and had a buyer,
    "can't pick it up yet, living remote Oz, send you bank account details so my payment will secure the vehicle".... Investigation leads to scammers in China.
    Now it's seller beware !!
    20th May 2016
    I have shared with family. I am concerned about people with dementia who are the easiest to target. It seems like that you always have to be on the ball with scams.
    20th May 2016
    Sadly the scammers seem to target those in nursing homes and these lovely old people just agree with everything they say. Thankfully most nursing homes now don't allow their residents to have access to credit cards now. However these scammers swamp their phones accounts over every other week and lots of parcels arrive that no one remembers ordering. Some of these parcels have the weirdest things in them. I can never work out why all this stuff is sent without payment.
    20th May 2016
    Unsolicited mail need not be paid for.
    20th May 2016
    That's the problem these people have recording of the residents ordering this stuff so it's not actually unsolicited.
    20th May 2016
    Here is another type of scam i'm sure of it that has just turned up in my email.

    You have been invited to the court

    You are invited to the presiding judge by the judge because of crime commitment.

    Case: #6296680
    Date: 05/05/2016
    Please contact nearest police office or View notices.
    Then it states if i don't turn up the proceedings will go ahead without me!
    Should I panic YET!!!? or print it and tell the Police.
    any ideas??
    20th May 2016
    Again, printed on this site yesterday.
    20th May 2016
    well lucky for me my Virus detection, stopped me from going to the site it referred me to go and now i will just block it, and class it as spam and hopefully won't get anymore. I wonder how many actually get to the site?
    Thanks Eddie for the reminder
    20th May 2016
    Since when is a 'criminal' ever INVITED to court????

    Summonsed yes..... invited no!
    20th May 2016
    I just love the bit where it usually says the court case was over a month ago.
    20th May 2016
    My neighbor got one of these calls one day and I received one the very next day ! And my Neighbor had only just retired and I told her it was a Scam and to ignore it ! I also spoke to my son about it as he is in the Police ! And he told me the same thing as I let him listen to the recording on my home phone ! And as I have been retired for over ten years I knew that I wed nothing to the ATO as had no savings etc either to worry about! I rang the Police Station and informed the Fraud squad and they said it was a fraud and had been going around for awhile and to ignore ! And that was about 9 months ago and I see its still going around as I got another message on my home phone only about 3 weeks ago and ignored that also !
    So I advise anyone to just hang up on any of these type of messages as they are scam,s because if most of them sound to good to be true then they usually are ! Dotty
    20th May 2016
    I got another 'can't refuse' offer today.

    An ex-pat British lady now in South Africa and dying of breast cancer wants to send me $4.5 million UDS IF I agree that 50% will go to an orphanage in my country! All I have to do is send her my bank details and she will instruct her lawyers to make the transfer and then she will die at peace in her soul!

    At least this make a change from the one about being the wife of some high powered ex militia wanting to get multi millions out of some third world country!
    Anne Ozzie
    20th May 2016
    We got an email not so long ago purporting to be from Telstra - their logo and all - saying we had rented a video and raising concern that it might not be us. Asked us to click on button to go to their website. Worried and thinking it was genuine we did only to have NORTONS block it with a message that this was a scamming website. you need to get decent online protection people!
    20th May 2016
    New one(to me)is you have to confirm your Apple id to hold your account.If this is not done within 2 hours your Apple account will be closed.Turns out if you answer they ask for bank a/c details to verify your id.Duh!You would have to be Homer to not see this.
    20th May 2016
    Email links.

    If you hoover your mouse over the link it's destination will show up in the bottom left hand corner of your screen. This is often very different to the link shown in your email.
    20th May 2016
    Hoovering the mouse will make it cleaner than the LNP :)
    Brett (no longer) in China
    20th May 2016
    I rarely hoover my mouse, prefer to clean it with a damp rag.
    20th May 2016
    LNP is short for what?
    20th May 2016
    No wonder people get scammed!
    20th May 2016
    If I get a call from someone that could be genuine and they ask for my date of birth I give them a false one. If they don't pick me up on it then I know that I may not be talking to someone genuine. If they do then I explain why and then ask them some questions of my own.
    20th May 2016
    I also 'spotted' scammers recently. I received an email alerting me of "some suspicious activity regarding my email account." They advised that I "click onto the response box and verify my account details" adding that "unless I did so, I would temporarily lose access to my emails and need a new password when it was restarted." I thought, oh no! *Fortunately I paused long enough to think and take a closer look. Firstly, it seemed odd to be contacted in this manner. Noticed several spelling mistakes of common words (I am a school teacher) and poor/clumsy grammar. This was not sent by an official site! I deleted the email and informed my children, one of whom said 'oh Mum, you must never open anything like that...
    Funny face
    20th May 2016
    My elderly neighbour came " running" over in a panic a couple if weeks ago. I always tell her of the scams that I read about on your life choices! She was worried that she'd fine the wrong thing ( she had!). They said they were from the Fair Trading Office and had found out that her credit union account has been underpaid! She said they sounded so nice and polite and apologised for ringing her on a weekend! Once she'd " thought" she " panicked" and it really stressed her out! ( and yes, she did give her credit card details!). We were able to cancel everything straight away but if it hadn't been for Your Life Choices, I wouldn't have known and the therefore neither would she! So thank you! But a very sweet lady had a very worrying weekend! How can people be so cruel! I myself " lost" a lot of money immediately after my husband " passed"! He had put all our holiday money into his American Express account and the moment he " went" so did the money! And that was American Express! I coukdnt use computers then so was completely unaware! I could have done with Your Life Choices then! Fraud squad involved but no one " wins" against " them!" And, they had the cheek to write and ask me if I'd like another card! Obviously, I declined their offer!
    21st May 2016
    I have spoken to a few people recently, all pensioners, a few had this same scam being tried on them. There were other types of course. I received e-mails a while ago supposedly from a County Court, one in Bendigo, Victoria and another in NSW.
    Another scam was discovered last year using on-line car sales sites. Advertising a car for sale and you will probably get a quick offer from someone who is desperate to get your car but they are on an oil rig and can't get to see the vehicle but still wish to buy it. You get an incentive by them offering a very good price but you have to open an account in some mail transfer company and deposit some of your own money. This money will disappear very quickly.
    I am quite amazed that this quite serious and important thread has been hijacked and turned into a debate on politics.
    21st May 2016
    Bonny, LNP stands for your favourite alliance. Liberal National
    22nd May 2016
    Here's another scam that I recently had....
    Received a phone message - left on my home phone which is unlisted. Asked to ring a number and quote a simple reference number. I ignored message but after receiving same message 5 days in a row, rang them. When I did manage to speak to someone I questioned them in detail. Asked for name of company, where they were, persons name, etc. Said they were a debt recovery Agency. I asked why they had rung me - they asked for my name. I then said that as they had rung me, they should know who I was. SO I GAVE A FALSE NAME. She then said 'just a minute - oh yes, we have a debt recovery instruction here for you' and straight away gave details about how I needed to pay for this 'debt'. I listened to the spiel, and then told her that it could not be correct as I had given her a false name. So any debt could NOT have been for me. I then said that as I had all the details, I was going to phone the police immediately - at which they hung up. Company was called NCO Group. How they got my unlisted number - I wish I knew. Though could have been random. So don't give out your personal details!!

    23rd May 2016
    I was recently the victim of a scam attempt by a motorist and a vehicle insurer (won't say which one). Insurer phoned claiming I had been a fault in an accident. Said I backed into a parked car. ''Luckily for the owner, a witness saw you and reported to police.''
    No. I think the ''witness'' was the car owner's best mate, making up a story to get the car owner insurance after SHE backed into her husband's car backing out of their driveway.
    Our insurer was bullying and threatening and demanded I sign a claim and pay excess, and telling me ''It's fine. That's what you have insurance for. It will only cost you the excess.'' ($500, plus my no claim bonus). They told me I must sign or the other party would sue. I said ''Tell them to go for it. I'll represent myself and win, and claim costs.''
    Insurer refused to allow me to view the other vehicle or photos of damage, but happily police gave me the rego number (and let me see the copy of the police report which was, interestingly, very different from the account sent to the insurers). I located the vehicle in a parking lot and took photos which proved conclusively that my car couldn't have done the damage (height and shape of towbar was wrong). Then I drove past the owner's house and noted that her husband's car had exactly the right height and shape towbar. What a coincidence!
    What finally sealed the deal was mentioning the matter to a friend who is religious about keeping a diary. She consulted her diary and discovered I had spent the morning at her house, 8km from where the accident allegedly happened. Until she spoke with the insurers, they had absolutely no interest in defending me, despite me pointing out that either the police report or the report to them was full of lies, because they were contradictory. Apparently the claimant was also insured with them.
    Needless to say, I changed insurers!

    23rd May 2016
    I still find it hard to believe that people are "still" being conned.
    Surely there is enough information on radio, tv etc for people to be aware.
    If you get unsolicited calls just hang up.
    You can ring them yourself and find out if they are trying to contact you (which 99% of time they do not do by phone anyway).
    As for giving money to complete strangers I wonder at peoples' commonsense!

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