Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, has warned people to be aware of internet and telephone scams.
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.
“Scammers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated; they often target the elderly and those that are the most vulnerable in our community.”
Many recent scams involve people claiming to represent a government agency that have an outstanding refund or payment owing. The caller then instructs the potential victim to send or transfer money, in order to release these 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 get further information about recent scams and tips on how to protect yourself at the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission SCAMwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au, to report a scam, call the hotline on 1300 795 995.