Fortunately Rosalie Scott-Smith, of Tura Beach, had her wits about her when she received a hoax phone call saying she was the recipient of an over-paid bank fee payment $7,640.
The caller spoke with an Indian accent and that immediately put her on the alert.
She questioned the caller’s bona fides and was told to check with her manager on 02 8003496 “quote SB27”.
Mrs Scott-Smith phoned the number and was told , again in an Indian accent, “Australian Tax Office here” and gave a contact phone number of 02 800 54762.
She was told that in order to release the money she would have to a pay the Tax Office $199 to cover the legal fees incurred in the recovery of her money.
By this time Mrs Scott-Smith was convinced her initial reaction was correct and she was the subject of a scam.
She should pay the legal fee to the Western Union company, she was told.
Friends of the Scott-Smiths googled the phone numbers . They found that the “manager’s" number belonged to a debt collection agency and the “tax office” number was for a bead company that no longer existed in Angel Place Sydney.
The couple advised the Merimbula Police of the scam.
Mrs Scott-Smith said she knew of others around her neighbourhood who had received similar scam calls. She said she was very concerned that the elderly could be duped by the scam as it was “cleverly” co-ordinated.
“I reckon my mum who is in her 90s would’ve gone for it. These people have absolutely no conscience . It is downright theft and unfortunately those most vulnerable are most likely to fall prey to their demands.”