Do not fall prey to scam artists
A SCAM that circulated the Coffs Coast in 2004 has reared its ugly head again.
Residents throughout the region have recently been receiving letters claiming to be from clairvoyant Marie Callas, telling them she has predicted great fortune in their lives and an opportunity to seize wealth.
The long-winded letter is addressed personally to victims and includes claims that “you can win big” and “you must act quickly” – by giving Marie money to predict your future.
The Department of Fair Trading has information about such scams on its website and warns people not to be fooled.
“A scam is designed to trick you into giving away your money or your personal details,” it states.
“Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and appeal to your needs and desires. The people who run these scams (scammers) are imaginative and manipulative; they know how to push the right buttons to produce the response they want.”
Anyone anywhere can be targeted and people should not automatically assume because something is personally addressed to you it is legitimate.
“Scams target everyone regardless of background, age and income,” the Department said.
“They come in many forms and reach you in many ways – by mail, online through email, telephone and door-to-door.”
Anyone receiving the letter should report it to SCAMwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au
How do I avoid scams?
Follow these golden rules to avoid being scammed:
Don’t respond to offers, deals or requests for your personal details.
Never send money or give credit card, account or other personal details to anyone who makes unsolicited offers or requests for your information.
Never respond to out-of-the-blue requests for your personal details.
Always type in the address of the website of a bank, business or authority you are interested in to ensure you are logging into the genuine website.
Don’t open unsolicited emails.
Never click on a link provided in an unsolicited email
Never use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests
Don’t reply to unsolicited text messages from numbers you don’t recognise.
Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory when you wish to check if a request or offer is genuine.
Don’t dial a 0055 or 1900 number unless you are sure you know how much you will be charged.