Jeanette Breen is warning Gympie residents about the latest phone scam to circulate.
Jeanette Breen is warning Gympie residents about the latest phone scam to circulate. Renee Pilcher

Con artists target Gympie

A GYMPIE woman has told this week how con-artists were posing as government officials in the latest phone scam.

Jeanette Breen was harassed by a phone call from a woman who claimed she represented the Australian Government and was ringing to arrange a return of nearly $5000 in bank fees.

The caller said she wanted to verify Mrs Breen’s details, which was met with suspicion.

“When she said that, something twigged. I said ‘if you were from the government then you already have my details’.

“When I told the woman to give me her number so I could call her back because I was busy, she said if I verified the information she would give me her supervisor’s number.

“(The background noise) sounded like a busy call centre and I thought – ‘how many people are copping this scam?’.”

Mrs Breen came forward to warn people of the dangers of “believable scams” that appeared to be getting worse with advances in technology.

“I didn’t want to do nothing and let some elderly person get conned. These phone calls play on people’s vulnerability,” she said.

“When people are doing it tough they see the dollar signs and don’t think too carefully about the consequences.”

Mrs Breen said she contacted her bank manager who told her scammers were doing the rounds trying to take advantage of a class action lawsuit against banks.

Litigation founder IMF Australia has launched the action, claiming 12 national, regional and international banks have overcharged customers $5 billion in penalty fees and it appears others have tried to get a piece of the action.

The “fraudsters” are believed to be cold-calling, pretending to be from the Consumer Action Law Centre and seeking personal details. They claimed to have checked the person’s bank account already and had calculated they had been overcharged thousands of dollars.

The Australian Bankers Association advises that if you receive a call such as Mrs Breen did, just hang up.

If you have provided any information over the telephone, the association advises to contact your bank immediately, which will take action to protect your account.

Gympie Times


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