Phone scam warning

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Be alert: Wilson Golby warns phone users to beware of bogus callers wanting credit card details. Picture: Gary Sissons

A PHONE scammer who nearly tricked a Mornington man into handing over his credit card details and paying a bogus $98 “fee” has him hopping mad.

Sick of late-night charity and ‘survey’ calls, Wilson Golby applied to be added to the Do Not Call register and was told it may take some time to implement.

The register is a free service which can be used to block home, mobile or fax numbers from unsolicited telemarketing calls.

On Tuesday last week Mr Golby took a call from a man who referred to his application to join the register, saying he could complete the process quickly over the phone.

“The man had a pleasant manner and was very chatty and I was being lulled along until he asked me if I had my credit card details ready as it would incur a one-off charge of $98,” Mr Golby said.

“I began to think that this may have been OK simply because of the convenience I would have without those unwanted calls – but then I recalled that the service was supposed to be free and backed off a bit.

“The man went on, saying that I must have a credit card or how else was I paying my Telstra bill but then I got even more suspicious, thinking ‘How does he know I have a Telstra account?’”

Backtracking, Mr Golby told the man he always paid by cheque at the post office and that he really didn’t have a credit card and then … click: the phone went dead. The man had hung up.

“I thought: ‘Got him!’

Calling Scam Watch afterwards to complain, Mr Golby was told: “Oh, we know all about that scam”.

“I said that if they knew all about it then why weren’t they telling people? Surely it’s their job to tell people about things like this.”

After making further inquiries, Mr Golby was told that “all information is for sale” – meaning the personal and financial details of virtually everyone can, potentially, be accessed by criminals.

Warnings about the scam appear on the Do Not Call Register’s website. Their message is: “Don’t fall for this scam! If you receive a call asking for payment to stay on the register, hang up.”

That’s good advice. But Mr Golby would like to know how the scammer was able to get his number from the federal government-backed organisation in the first place.

“I’d also like to know what they are going to do about it?”

The Do Not Call Register was contacted for comment.

First published in the Mornington News – 8 May 2018

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