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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fair Trading offers tips to keep Seniors safe from scammers

The Office of Fair Trading is sharing tips to help older Queenslanders to be more ‘scam aware’ during Queensland Seniors Month.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said in 2022, people over the age of 65 have recorded the largest amount of losses to scammers than any other age group.

“Australians over the age of 65 have reported almost four times the amount of losses to scammers in August this year compared to August 2019, before the pandemic,” the Commissioner/the Attorney said.

The Attorney said the top three scams are investment scams, dating and romance scams, and remote access scams where the victim is tricked into giving remote access to their computer, phone or tablet only to have their private information stolen.

“Investment scams promising big payouts or quick money are overwhelmingly the biggest scams people lose money to. And my advice is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

“A recent scam is the ‘Hi Mum” scam, where the victim receives a text from someone impersonating a family member saying they’ve lost their phone and asking the victim for money.”

The Attorney said scammers can respond and adapt quickly when their scam is exposed by rolling out a new scam.

“My advice to Queenslanders is to check the Scam Watch website regularly to stay updated on the latest scams and how you can avoid them,” she said.

“Also, if you have been impacted by the recent Optus data breach, you can visit IDCARE online for information about how you might be impacted by the breach and what you can do to protect yourself.”

Tips for seniors to be ‘scam aware’:

  • Be wary of phone calls, or text messages from numbers you do not know, and never give the caller or sender your personal details.
  • If you receive emails asking you to verify your contact details, do not reply – contact the organisation directly using contact details sourced through an online search or phone book.
  • Be suspicious of any requests for money.
  • If you receive phone calls or emails offering financial advice or investment opportunities, hang up or delete the email.
  • If you are looking to invest money, do your research and check the company or scheme is licensed on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website
  • Stay updated on the latest scams and how to avoid them on the Scam Watch website
  • Visit IDCARE to see how you can protect yourself

“It’s important that people talk about scams because by reducing the stigma around scams, we can help more people learn to identify and avoid them,” the Attorney said.

“Tell your friends and family about Scam Watch and IDCARE so they know how to spot a scam, avoid being scammed, and importantly, know what to do to reduce identity theft.”

The OFT regularly talks to community groups about consumer protection and scam awareness, for more information about how you can book an OFT guest speaker, see the Fair Trading website or call 13QGOV (13 74 68).

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