Broken Hill resident Garry Stone thought he was doing the right thing when he received a very official looking email alerting him to a charge of nearly $700 to his PayPal account.
Mr Stone immediately sprang to action and called the number on the email, knowing he hadn’t made any such purchase, and that is when he began to realise something was amiss.
“I called the number, it all sounded very official, they said they were from PayPal. I explained how it wasn’t a purchase that I had made, and they were very happy to help me,” Mr Stone explained to the Truth.
The person claiming to be a customer service operator for PayPal then advised Garry to go to a website so they could sort the issue out on their end.
“Believing I was talking to PayPal, I did as they instructed, but alarm bells started ringing for me when I realised that if I continued with their instructions, I would be giving them control of my computer,” Mr Stone continued.
“The ‘representative’ insisted it was the only way they could wipe this charge from my account. To which I replied do you think I am silly enough to fall for this.
“I then spoke rather abruptly, chastising him for trying to rip off an honest person, and then he hung up.”
Sadly, Mr Stone’s story is not uncommon and unfortunately these situations don’t always end in a close call.
Australians lost a record amount of more than $3 billion to scams in 2022 alone, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), up nearly $2bn on the previous 12 months. Unfortunately, elderly Australians make up a large percentage of those fleeced by scammers.
This story serves as a reminder that Broken Hill is not immune to this and everyone, not only the elderly, should be wary when conducting any type of financial business online.