Top tips to avoid scammers
Scammers target people of all ages and demographics, however, seniors are often targeted more frequently. This is because older Australians are often more financially stable than younger people and are generally less familiar with the internet. Tips to avoid falling for scammers tricks are outlined below:
Pick out door-to-door sales scams
While many legitimate businesses sell things door-to-door, scammers also use this approach. Scammers may try to sell you gardening or home maintenance services, and then bill you for work that you did not agree to or worse yet, wasn’t performed at all! Look out for those with a lack of identification as by law sales people must provide their name, the name of the organization they represent and the purpose of their visit upon arrival at your home. Salespeople are not allowed to visit you on Sundays or public holidays or after 6pm on weekends and 5pm on Saturdays, if a salesperson visits in these hours you should ask them to leave.
Protect your personal information
Avoid sharing your personal and banking details with cold call salespeople, scammers are often trained to gain your trust and obtain these details by appearing to be a “professional” or by coming across as a friend. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch the best thing to do is hang up right away. Whilst recorded messages are common in many call centers to redirect calls to the relevant area, they are not trustworthy when selling products and are actually illegal.
Look up a company online
If you are feeling unsure as to whether a company is legitimate or not, it can be helpful to search up the company name online followed by “scam” or “review”. This will allow you to see what other people have said about the company and whether they are trustworthy or not.
Beware of advance payment requests
Many scams promise a reward which can be claimed if you pay an upfront, advance fee first, often this results in the company taking the money and disappearing. Always be wary of these requests especially if you have not heard of the company before.
Be cautious of dating and romance scams
Scammers take advantage of older people who are living alone by playing on emotional triggers and pretending to be prospective companions. This often occurs via dating website and social media and can lead to the victim sending money, gifts or personal details to the scammer unknowingly. Tell-tale signs of a faux-admirer include: declaring their love for you within moments of messaging you, excuses about why they can’t talk over the phone or face-to-face and inconsistencies in stories or information about themselves.
If you ever feel unsure about a potentially scammer do not hesitate to contact a trusted family member or friend. It is easy to fall victim to scammers, however, by remaining aware of the typical warning signs and tricks they use, you can minimize your risk. To increase your level of computer literacy consider attending one of our free computer classes, our volunteer tutors can help you to feel more comfortable online and show you how to use websites such as google to search reviews on a company you may be unsure about. These classes are held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, to book in call 07 3624 2121 or visit us at Burnie Brae Reception.