While people are wising up to the rise of phone and email scams, a new and sophisticated letter scam is targeting older people across Australia.
Most people believe they can trust information sent to them in the mail, but a fake letter claiming to be from Telstra is putting many on high alert.
Queensland resident Pamela Moorfoot appeared on 7 News Brisbane on Thursday night and explained her mother received a letter in the post that didn’t look quite right.
“It had a really dodgy email address, it was not addressed to my mother personally, just the household,” she explained.
While Moorfoot said the letter was well-done, she could tell its contents had been copied and pasted.
The letter, obtained by 7 News, claims changes are being made to a Telstra account but further personal information is required for the changes to take place.
“We’ve been trying to contact you about some changes that are required on the account ending in 149 in which we require additional information for,” the letter reads. “Services under this account will be cancelled because we have not been able to verify the necessary service and account details as outlined in the letter sent to you [on a previous date].”
The letter states the Telstra service will be cancelled if “Telstra” doesn’t receive communication and encourages victims to call or email the contact details provided. The letter is also signed by someone claiming to be from the Telstra Correspondence Team.
Telstra confirmed to 7 News the letter was a scam. Most scams trick people into providing personal information such as bank account or payment details. In some cases, money is stolen, while identity theft is another major issue.
Meanwhile, a post shared on the Brisbane Weather Facebook page claims another person was sent a letter which included the victim’s full name.
“Today mum received a letter from ‘Telstra’ that had her full name in the letter saying we’ve been trying to contact you, please call us with a phone number supplied,” the post reads. “Mum is a sceptic so rang Telstra direct only to be informed it’s a fake with someone trying to steal her information. Please share to make others aware of this, it is a pretty good fake.”
Others in the community expressed their anger and concern over the new scam.
One person on Facebook wrote: “A lot of people have no idea this scam is going on and therefore don’t check properly. We know because we are made aware.”
Another comment read: “Change to online bills with an account that you can login to online, with passwords, so you can the follow up in your account whether it is a real bill or not. In your account it will tell you if there is a bill or not.”
A third added: “Hence why I prompt to receive my Telstra stuff through my Telstra app and online not via mail anymore maybe help her set up her account on her app on her phone.”
The ACCC says scammers are also known to lure in older Aussies through dating sites and social media, especially those who have recently divorced or lost a long term partner and are in a vulnerable emotional state. Over-65s were robbed out of $7.6 million last year alone in investment scams, while those misled through fake relationships reported losses of $5.8 million to dating and romance scams.
If unsure, it’s best to contact a company directly or to visit them in person to address the issue.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services advice.