John Jones, 71 and his wife Valerie, 69, from Corowa in NSW talked about their personal experience with a scam. Picture: Supplied.
John Jones, 71 and his wife Valerie, 69, from Corowa in NSW talked about their personal experience with a scam. Picture: Supplied.

How we dodged online scammers

RETIREE John Jones said he "felt like a fool" after he realised he allowed a scammer to remotely access his home computer and almost nab his hard-earned money.

The 71-year-old and his wife Valerie, 69, from Corowa in southern NSW, said they received a call earlier this year from someone purporting to be from the National Broadband Network.

With some convincing, the caller managed to con Mr Jones into giving him access to his computer, and from there it went downhill.

"The man told me someone was hacking into my computer and he told me he was going to put me on to his technical department to deal with this and help me," Mr Jones said.

He gave the callers access to his computer but luckily his bank, Westpac, was able to track suspicious activity before it was too late.

"I dodged a bullet," Mr Jones said.

"Now I don't trust anybody who phones me up and says they are someone. I'm not a computer whiz but I'm not a complete moron."

Westpac froze Mr Jones's accounts and had this not been done in time he stood to lose about $10,000.

News Corp's Moneysaver HQ supplement — John Jones, 71 and his wife Valerie, 69, from Corowa in NSW talk about their personal experience with a scam and how Westpac helped to prevent the elderly couple from losing a great deal of money. Picture: Supplied.
News Corp's Moneysaver HQ supplement — John Jones, 71 and his wife Valerie, 69, from Corowa in NSW talk about their personal experience with a scam and how Westpac helped to prevent the elderly couple from losing a great deal of money. Picture: Supplied.

Westpac's new State of Scams report, which quizzed more than 1000 Australians in July, found that:

● 68 per cent of people are worried about being scammed.

● 9 per cent have been affected by a scam in the past 12 months.

● People who were scammed lost an average $12,000.

● Two in three people were too embarrassed, ashamed or anxious to let their friends or family know they had been scammed.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission's deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said the most common scams included phishing - when someone sends an email purporting to be from a company in order to induce people to reveal personal information. "Already

$16 million has been lost in the first six months of this year and many people don't even realise they have had money stolen," she said.

"Then there's ATO scams, remote access scams where they hide behind a trusted name, and we are also seeing a huge proliferation in online shopping scams."

Westpac head of fraud Ben Young said to be wary of anyone who became "threatening very quickly".

"Learn to hang up," he said. "Any big company, when they call you, knows that you may question them.

"If you've been scammed, call the bank first and foremost."

TIPS

• Nobody is legitimate if they are calling to help with your computer.

• Update security software on your computer.

• Do not share personal details.

• Never click on any suspicious links.

• Be sceptical if someone purporting to be from a company contacts you out of the blue.

• Don't send money to someone you haven't met in person.

• To report a scam visit scamwatch.gov.au.


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