If you have an elderly parent, there is a worrying new fraud that you must warn them of, after a number of older Aussies were robbed of their life savings by a particularly complex phone-and-bank scam.
The unusually detailed fraud runs like this: a person telephones, claiming to be from an expensive jewellery store, and warns the victim that their credit card is being used to purchase a particularly pricey item.
The ‘jewellery salesperson’ informs tells the victim that they’re concerned their card is being used fraudulently and warns them to call their bank and the police, and even helpfully offers to transfer them to the police so they can report the crime.
However, the phone transfer is to a fake police officer, who then advises the victim that staff within their own Australian bank are involved in the fraud and that they must not alert them that the gig’s up. Instead, the ‘police officer’ advises the victim to transfer the money they have in their Australian bank account to a UK account via the international bank transfer system, in order to ‘protect’ it from the scammers.
The victim is warned to carry out the transfer without mentioning its purpose to bank staff, whether they do so by telephone or in a branch.
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But the UK bank accounts are actually controlled by the scammers, who then make off with the money. Once money leaves Australia, it is difficult to retrieve, even if it is paid into a legitimate UK bank account.
The fraudsters are known to be targeting Australians over the age of 75. And although their ploy may sound implausible, Starts at 60 has been told that a number of older people have sent a significant sum overseas in just the past few days.
Do you help your parents handle their cash? Have you heard about this scam before?