CAFE owners Ben and Sarah Parsons are warning others after being stung for thousands of dollars by a well-planned scam.

The couple, who own New Earth Cafe in Coolum, received an email from a woman asking if they could coordinate a large order of organic produce to be shipped to Mundingburra, Townsville.

Mr Parsons organised the order for the woman, who told him she was having difficulty organising it for herself due to medical concerns.

She asked him to also pay a courier $3380 to get the produce to its destination, assuring him she would cover the cost with the credit card.

Mr Parsons took credit card payment over the phone on June 8.

Mr Parsons then paid the courier money from his own ANZ bank account into another ANZ bank account after he saw the credit card transaction for the produce and the courier had been accepted.

A little while later he was contacted by the ANZ fraud unit who advised that the credit card details provided by the woman were stolen.

The money transfer was frozen before the funds were returned to the credit card owner.

Mr Parsons was told the money from his own funds he had transferred to the "courier” had already been withdrawn.

He and his wife were able to either use the produce or negotiate with their supplier so it didn't end up costing them.

But the money for the courier was gone.

They have contacted ANZ with the details of those who scammed them but said the bank had told them all they could do was send the "courier” account holder a letter asking them to give the money back.

The response has added to their frustration.

"Do you think a person who went through an elaborate scheme, that spent days emailing us, is going to give the money back,” Mrs Parsons said.

"That's ridiculous.”

She said she would not take credit card details over the phone for any transactions any more.

"I miss the business but it is absolutely not worth it for me any more.”

An ANZ spokeswoman said the bank would not comment about specific customer issues but it did always investigate any reports of fraudulent activity.

"If an account is suspected to be fraudulent, ANZ will monitor it and it will be closed if this is confirmed,” the spokeswoman said.

"Any customers who are concerned about potentially fraudulent activity are encouraged to contact ANZ on 13 13 14.”


If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, complete some research:

  • Verify the issue being described to you by the scammer.
  • Verify the person who initiated contact with you. Terminate the call, look up the correct telephone number for the company they claim to represent and make appropriate enquiries.
  • Refer to government websites that identify and track evolving scams:
  • Scam watch:

    Stay Smart Online:


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