BALLARAT MP Catherine King has warned people to be aware of internet and telephone scams, with evidence the activity is on the rise.
Ms King said there appeared to be an increase in people receiving phone calls from strangers seeking to obtain personal information.
“A number of people have contacted my office in the last week concerned about callers offering services or financial benefits in exchange for personal information,” Ms King said.
“The golden rule is, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.”
The Courier has also heard from several residents concerned about suspected scam telephone calls this week.
Ms King said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and often targeted the elderly and most vulnerable in the community.
Many recent scams involve people claiming to represent a government agency that has an outstanding refund or payment owing.
The caller then instructs the potential victim to send or transfer money in order to release the funds.
“Unfortunately, some people do fall victim to these scams and they lose their money,” Ms King said.
“If you receive a call from someone and you are suspicious, ask for the person’s name and phone number and say that you want to get some independent advice before making a decision.
“If people are concerned that their privacy has been breached or they have provided personal details as a result of one of these calls, they should report it to the police.”
People can obtain further information about recent scams and tips on how to protect themselves at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission SCAMwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au. To report a scam call the hotline on 1300 795 995.