A Bargal Beach pensioner came close to losing more than $4000 in a Telstra phone scam. PICTURE: FILE
A Bargal Beach pensioner came close to losing more than $4000 in a Telstra phone scam. PICTURE: FILE

How postie saved woman from $4000 scam

A PENSIONER came close to losing thousands of dollars through iTunes vouchers in a threatening scam.

The 80-year-old Balgal Beach woman, who wished to remain anonymous, was conned into buying $4000 in vouchers by a supposed Telstra staff member.

The woman's daughter-in-law Kathleen Church said the caller was "quite forceful" and told her "dangerous people" had compromised her computer.

"It's like elder abuse. The conversation he had with her was really bullying," Mrs Church said.

"He kept saying they were very, very dangerous people. Don't tell anyone about this call."

Mrs Church said her mother-in-law received the first call late last Wednesday night with the order: "I need you to go down to the shops to buy $1000 of iTunes vouchers".

Mrs Church said the caller then organised a taxi to pick her mother-in-law up during the State of Origin match and drive her to Woolworths in Deeragun - a $300 round trip.

She said once the vouchers were purchased her mother-in-law told the caller the numbers on the backs of the cards, allowing them to be spent.

But the next day the caller struck again.

Mrs Church said her mother-in-law was ordered to buy $2000 worth of vouchers at the Rollingstone Post Office and $1000 from Coles at Deeragun.

Luckily the managers at theses stores were more privy to what had happened.

Rollingstone Post Office owner and manager Rosco Jessop said when the 80-year-old stepped in and wanted to buy $2000 of iTunes vouchers flags raised "immediately".

"She didn't even know what the product was," Mr Jessop said.

"I just reversed those transactions as soon as she walked out the door."

Mr Jessop said Australia Post staff had been briefed on scams and said there was another one currently doing the rounds where callers pretended to be from the Australian Taxation Office.

"The old people are vulnerable," he said.

"I think it's just a numbers game. They call 1000 people, get 10 talking and one through. $2000 is not bad."

Mrs Church said Coles staff also warned her mother-in-law she was being scammed.

She said the second lot of iTunes vouchers purchases were able to be cancelled but her mother-in-law was $1300 out of pocket for the first $1000 purchases and taxi ride.

Telstra phone scams were on the rise at the start of the month according to the Australian Government's Scamwatch website which helps to protect consumers.

It said there had been 403 reports of such scams from July 2-8.



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