New scam circulating Warwick

FOLLOWING a number of scams being reported throughout the area over the past few months, Warwick residents are being urged to remain cautious and alert after reports another one is circulating in the area.

It appears the scam is targetting business owners to con them out of their hard-earned cash.

Pitstop Lodge owner Yve Stocks was contacted by a young woman at the end of last week who claimed to be selling advertising to run in a Warwick Hospital magazine.

She said her first clue the call was not legitimate was when the caller mispronounced the name of the town she was meant to represent.

“She didn't have an accent and she sounded very young. She said she was selling advertising for a magazine for the ‘War–wick' hospital,” Ms Stocks said.

“I let her go and then I said ‘first of all, if you're selling advertising for them you'd want to learn how to say Warwick properly'.”

Ms Stocks said she then explained the correct pronunciation of the town to the woman, who repeated it slowly back to her.

Once the woman said the name of the town correctly, Ms Stocks told her she was not interested.

The local business owner said the scam is similar to one she fell victim to several years ago when a telemarketer sold her supposed advertising in a police magazine.

After paying for the spot, she never saw any such publication.

Warwick Hospital director of nursing Megan O'Shannessy said it was “pretty outrageous” somebody was trying to sell fake advertising on behalf of the hospital.

“We do have a hospital newsletter but it is very low-key and we do not sell advertising for it,” she said.

“If anybody receives a call like this they should know the person is not representing Queensland Health.”

Business owners should also be wary of similar false billing scams in which scammers will contact their target to “confirm” their spot in a publication or simply send them an invoice for a false advertising spot.

At a time when many people are preparing to lodge tax returns it is important to remain vigilant of related scams.

Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo has warned the community to be alert to tax related scams in the lead up to tax time.

“During the busy tax season, scammers will try to catch you off guard using phone calls, letters, text messages, emails, bogus websites and even false job advertisements to trick you into providing your personal details and pay money,” Mr D'Ascenzo said.

“We are aware of a current telephone scam operating where a person claiming to be from the ATO or ‘Taxation Department' calls offering you a grant of $7000 if you pay $200.

“If you need to confirm someone is calling from the ATO, call 13 28 61.”

To report a scam or for more details on scams circulating visit call 1300 795 995 or visit http://www.scamwatch.gov.au.



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