THE quick actions of a dutiful son-in-law have saved a Coffs Harbour great grandmother from scammers who repeatedly called saying she was entitled to $5,000 in energy rebates.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said Chris Spencer, the CEO of the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Land Council, had spread the word about the scam to stop other people being duped.
"In this case, this savvy consumer's mother-in-law was called repeatedly and instructed to go to her local Post Office and transfer $200 by Western Union to Kathmandu in Nepal to a person called Buddimaya Rai at 12 Royal St," Commissioner Stowe said.
"It's a right royal scam and nothing less.
"The scammers told her they were calling from the finance department of the Federal Government.
"They told her to collect a blank Western Union transfer from the post office, then call 02 8007 5535 for assistance in completing the form.
"Trading on older people's trust in government is reprehensible.
"It's heartless, but in many cases unfortunately it is highly effective because it can seem plausible that seniors might be entitled to some form of rebate on energy bills.
"It also relies on the inherent trust many Australians have in government."
Mr Stowe said governments aren't in the habit of cold calling consumers to offer them money back.
"The prefix used was 02 800…..which is a Skype number, the often preferred medium for scammers," he said.
When Fair Trading attempted to call the number their officers were repeatedly bumped from the queue or the number did not answer.
"Once scammers know people are on to them, they modify their tactics," Commissioner Stowe said.
"To stay a step ahead of scammers, consumers need to have a 'trust no one' approach to cold callers."
For more information go to: Fair Trading