BE ALERT: A Theebine man has reported a dodgy phone scam.
BE ALERT: A Theebine man has reported a dodgy phone scam. Francis Witsenhuysen

WARNING: Be on the lookout for these dodgy phone calls

A GYMPIE region man who shut down dodgy scammers asking for his personal information has spoken out about the experience in a bid to raise local awareness on the issue.

Philip Hunter, from Theebine, was quick to reject requests for his details after callers impersonating insurance companies asked about a "recent car accident" in three separate attempts spread across "a few months".

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Aside from the fact he had not been involved in an accident, Mr Hunter said he was wise to the scam thanks to previous news reports on similar incidents.

"They called me (previously) and left a message on my phone, and they called me for a third time last week," he said.

"Each time they called me on a different number, they were asking questions about a car accident I'd been in ... and trying to get my details.

"I can't remember what insurance company they said they were from, (but) when I told them I knew what they were doing, they hung up on me before I even finished my sentence.

"They would be calling around and waiting until they trick someone and hit the jackpot."

 

Screenshot of Scamwatch website
Screenshot of Scamwatch website Contributed

Mr Hunter soon reported the incidenst to Police Link and said he was in the process of reporting to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch division among other authorities.

He said he wanted to remind fellow locals on the ever-present dangers behind scammers.

"It's important to keep raising awareness about these things do people don't get caught out.

"People should always keep an eye out."

Gympie Police District Crime Prevention Coordinator Deb Wruck said the particular scam had been around for a long time and was one of "quite a few" to hit Gympie in "waves".

"They tend to quieten down and then start up again," Senior Constable Wruck said.

"These scams relate to identity fraud most of all."

The official Scamwatch website said Australians "lost more money to scammers in 2017 than in any other year since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity" at $340 million.

Scamwatch statistics also revealed more than $55,000 had been lost from over 2,000 reports of Phishing - or "attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out personal information such as ... bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers" - in May this year.

The ACCC recommends victims of scams should take counter measures including contacting authorities, as well as their financial institution, family and friends.

Visit the Scamwatch website here.

Gympie Times


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