It is the new year but Ballarat residents are facing the same scams

iT’S the New Year but already in 2013 Ballarat residents have been targeted with some very old scams. 

Magpie resident Linda Ward nearly fell victim to a cold-call phone scam, with con men posing as representatives of one of Victoria’s biggest energy suppliers. 

“They rang up and said they had a great discount for us and had all the right contact details so I assumed it was above board,” she said. 

“After I had been on the phone for a while, the person said he would put me through to a supervisor and I thought that was a bit strange, and then she started being pushy and asking for my Medicare number or my drivers license.” 

Ms Ward said she hung up the phone when the woman started demanding the information and it became clear it wasn’t a legitimate call. 

She contacted her energy supplier and was told the call was a common scam. 

“I would warn people to be careful when people ring up and sound like they are the real thing and for them to be careful with their personal information,” she said. 

Another resident, who asked not to be named, was sent any entry form for a suspicious looking European-based lotto competition, offering participants the chance to join more than 886,000 winners from around the world. 

The extensive materials, sent to home addresses in Ballarat, offers prizes worth as much as $530 million and, complete with a return postal address to The Netherlands, asked players for their credit card and bank account details. 

Consumer Affairs Victoria warns of schemes designed to deceive or steal money or personal details.

Their Avoiding Scams website counsels consumers to avoid scammers who go door-to-door or phone their homes offering cheap deals for ‘today only’. 

Visit the website to complete a quiz on how to spot a scam before you become a victim and ensure you never give your personal or financial information over the phone. 

For more information, visit http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/ or call 1300 55 81 81.

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