Phone scam warning given for Ballarat

BALLARAT residents are being warned about an old phone scam which is again doing the rounds. 

The scam involves a real person calling unsuspecting victims, claiming they are a Microsoft employee and offering to fix PC viruses. 

The caller then asks for credit card details in order to provide software solutions to the virus. 

The scam has been around since 2012 and has affected several countries including America, Canada and Australia. 

One elderly Ballarat resident, who didn’t want to be named, said she received one of the calls last week. 

“The man on the end of the line said he was calling from Microsoft and that my computer was in danger,” she said. 

“I knew it was a scam straight away because I don’t own a computer. So I let him ramble on for a minute and then said: ‘look this is just rubbish’.”

The woman said she was “one of the lucky ones” due to the fact she’d read about a similar scam in Ballarat a few weeks ago. 

“It’s such as shame. So many people must be easily led into providing their credit card details before it’s too late,” she said. 

Consumer Affairs Victoria acting director Phil D’Adamo warned consumers about the scam and said it was common for scammers to use the names of reputable computer companies to “trick” consumers into believing their claims are legitimate. 

“These sorts of scams can be financially devastating for victims as it can be very difficult to track scammers down to recover lost money,” Mr D’Adamo said. 

“Scammers prey on vulnerable members of the community and we urge Victorians to alert their families and friends about this scam.”

Mr D’Adamo recommended consumers never provide personal details to a company or person you don’t trust, be wary of calls asking to remotely log into your computer and remember that calls from any IT company that isn’t yours is likely to be a scam. 

For more information on scams visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au/scams or call 1300 558 181.

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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