COLD CALLS: Kelvin and Kay Frost are warning Lismore residents to be wary of a new scam doing the rounds.
COLD CALLS: Kelvin and Kay Frost are warning Lismore residents to be wary of a new scam doing the rounds. Marc Stapelberg

Scam’s sick twist targets couple in their 70s

SCAMS come in all shapes and forms, but the latest one experienced by a Lismore couple is twisted.

Kelvin Frost said he and his wife Kay had complained a few weeks ago to the Do Not Call registrar with Telstra's complaint section.

"Normally we would get more scam calls than we get actual calls from our relatives," Mr Frost said.

"It's hardly worth having a telephone."

Mr Frost said he was told by Telstra representatives that they couldn't stop all calls from overseas scammers but they could probably stop the ones coming from Thailand and central Asia.

And so their number was added to the register, which is why when he got another call on the matter he was a little sceptical.

Yesterday Mr Frost had a phone call from someone claiming to be following up about his complaint about scams.

"They said before they could fix it (stop the scam calls coming through his phone) they needed credit card details that I use to pay my Telstra phone bill with.

"I said 'I don't use a card, I go to the post office and pay them'. They then transferred my call to another person."

He said the next person again insisted they had to have his card details, despite the fact he pays his bill with cash.

"They said you must have some sort of card you use to pay your bills, we've got to have that as proof.

"I basically hung up on them because it seemed to me they were working the same scam asking 'we need your credit card details and the date it expires etc."

"We're 78 and 79, the other option is we get our Telstra phone cut off and we just don't have a phone, but it would be handy to have one in case one of us has to go to hospital.

"The latest one appears to be signing you up to solar power. We've had about five people ring us in the past three days."

Mr Frost said most of the scam calls tried to trick you that your computer or internet needed fixing, but he doesn't have access to internet at home.

"Most people are on a computer and most people have it in the back of their mind that they may have a genuine problem with their internet. How do you get around that? I don't know.

"I'm 79, it's hard enough trying to keep your wits about you without having to try to battle the scammers.

"It's about time the politicians instead of sacking their leaders actually did something about the scam calls which I'm sure everybody is getting."

In 2018 so far, ScamWatch has received more than 43,000 reports where the scammer made contact by phone, with more than $24 million lost.

An ACCC spokeswoman said consumers should be cautious of phone calls from people pretending to be from large telecommunications or computer companies, or government departments.

"Consumers can still receive scam calls even if they have a private number or are listed on the Australian Government's Do Not Call Register, as scammers can obtain phone numbers fraudulently," she said.

"Consumers should never give out their personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless they made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

"If people are in doubt about the authenticity of a call, they should not commit to anything. Instead, they should hang up and call the company or government department directly using their official customer service number to verify that it is genuine.

"Never use contact details provided by the caller, instead find the number via an independent source such as a phone book or online search.

"People who have provided account details or other information to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution immediately."