News

Cobram residents warned of phone scam

By Kieren Tilly

Cobram great-grandmother Anne Stewart is used to receiving unwanted overseas calls.

So when she received a call at home from an operator, she thought ‘‘here we go again’’.

But instead of offering help to alleviate computer virus issues, the caller told Ms Stewart she was from the Do Not Call Register to help eliminate those troublesome calls.

‘‘I am sick to death of those phone calls so I was delighted to think there may be a way of avoiding them altogether,’’ Ms Stewart said.

‘‘I was not overly worried at first, the lady knew a bit about us in terms of our name, address and obviously our number.

‘‘The spiel that she gave me over the phone was that she wanted to ensure that we were not bothered again.

‘‘And the final proof of who I was ... was my credit card details.

‘‘It was at that point I knew something was wrong and told the lady I felt very uncertain about giving that information to a stranger.

‘‘I thanked her for her time and hung up.’’

The Australian Media and Communication Authority in May posted on its website a consumer alert with regards to reports of scammers contacting people purporting to be representing the Do Not Call Register.

ACMA advised the register would not call to register, alter or update a ‘do not call’ registration. At no time will someone be asked for any fees or financial information. Not only is registration permanent it is also free.

The register is a secure database where individuals and organisations can register, check or remove their Australian telephone, mobile and fax numbers to opt out of receiving most unsolicited telemarketing calls and faxes.

When she was asked for her financial details, Ms Stewart said her gut instinct ended what might have been an expensive phone call.

‘‘I just felt I should let the community know that these phone calls are being made and that we all need to be aware and proactive in protecting our finances.’’

The Do Not Call Register can be found on the ACMA website under www.donotcall.gov.au