Seniors are being encouraged to become scam savvy during National Consumer Fraud Week as NSW Fair Trading offers advice and support to Australians over 55 on how to avoid being caught up in pernicious scams.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe says that it’s important for seniors to be aware of scams and to know what resources are available to them if they become involved in a scam.
“In 2015 Australians over 55 lost $21 million to scammers. We hope that by providing our seniors with valuable information that we can decrease this number in 2016 and beyond,” said Mr Stowe.
The most common scams, making up for half of the money lost by Australians over 55 each year, were related to online dating and investment, costing senior consumers $12 million in 2015.
NSW Fair Trading suggests that seniors take the following precautions to avoid getting caught up in deceitful scams:
· Do not let anyone pressure you into making on-the-spot decisions. Scammers will often try to create a sense of urgency and threaten consumers with legal action or fake emergencies to trick the consumer into complying with the scam.
· Get a second opinion. If you have doubts run the situation by a reliable third party before parting with any money or signing anything.
· Do not respond to e-mails from an unknown address and do not send money to anyone via e-mail or allow them to access your computer.
· Government agencies are most likely to send you a letter if you are entitled to money. If you receive a phone call offering you money it is most likely a scam.
· If you have not entered a competition then you probably have not won a prize.
The National Consumer Fraud Week runs from 16-20 May. To register your attendance at one of the public information sessions during Fraud Week, or to find another Fair Trading event near you, visitwww.events.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.
As places at the information sessions are limited, you are encouraged to register your attendance online or by phone prior to the event. No registration is required to attend the information stands.