Elderly and vulnerable residents are still falling victim to fraud and scams in the Manning, Great Lakes and Gloucester.
On the back of a public awareness campaign in 2018, Manning Great Lakes Police District officers are still receiving numerous reports of brazen criminals duping locals into handing over personal information through scams such as fake driveway repairs, non-existent computer viruses and false taxation payments.
Chief inspector Christine George said the iTunes scam, that was rife in the community in previous years, has once again reared its ugly head.
A recent case saw an elderly man attempt to purchase $400 worth of iTunes cards from a local supermarket.
The man was convinced by scammers this was the only method to avoid losing his home telephone connection.
"It was good the girl on the counter was right across it all and she asked him a number of questions.
"It turned out he was quite scared because the people on the phone had told him if he didn't pay this $400 he was going to have his phone cut off and all types of things would happen in his home.
"She convinced him to attend to the police. He attended the police station and made a report," Chief Inspector George said.
We've had reports of these scammers taking these people to the bank so they can draw out money to pay them.Christine George, Manning Great Lakes Police District Chief Inspector
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), gift cards have fast become the payment method of choice for scammers. The method resulted in $5 million in stolen money nationwide in 2018, a 38 per cent increase on 2017.
Specifically, iTunes gift cards accounted for $3.1 million in losses, a 156 per cent increase on the year before.
"Scammers like to get gift cards as payment as it's easy for them to quickly sell them on secondary markets and pocket the cash," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
Chief inspector George revealed the lengths some criminals will go to scam residents.
"We've had reports of these scammers taking these people to the bank so they can draw out money to pay them," she said.
She believes residents are either not aware of the scams or are caught out unexpectedly.
"Some people are not aware, it might be the first phone call.
"When you're busy and rushing around and you get that phone call on the run saying there's something wrong and you owe money, it does give you cause to think if you have paid a bill or whether you haven't paid your home phone.
"Sometimes people may get caught up in it without realising it and somewhere down the track they suddenly realise and hopefully it's before they've given out bank details, money or personal details," Chief Inspector George said.
Residents are urged to be wary of any scams relating to tax returns.
"Tax time is the prime time when people get those messages on their phone saying ring this number because you have a tax bill and if you don't pay us the police will arrest you," Chief Inspector George said.
"We (police) don't arrest people for not paying their taxes, that's not our job."
The advice is when you're in doubt, hang the phone up and ring any agencies direct to determine if a legitimate phone call was made.
The police district's commander Superintendent Shane Cribb said police will create education packages to help people in the community be aware of scams.
"For every scam that comes out, we try and educate people on how to prevent it another one is coming," Superintendent Cribb said.
"I say to everyone: 'if it's too good to be true then it probably is'."
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