SCAM: How retiree lost thousands in clever trick

A PROSERPINE retiree has lost thousands of dollars to a scammer.

A police representative said the woman received a text message last Thursday, May 16, saying she had been selected on a commercial company's month of May customer list.

A link was provided and the recipient was encouraged to click on the link to claim the "winnings".

Alarm bells rang for the woman and she initially sought advice from her daughter through social media channels as to whether or not the text message was genuine, police said.

Her daughter said she had received a similar text, and encouraged her mother to follow up the link to see what she had won.

The woman began communicating with a person she believed to be a representative from the company, who would help her to claim her winnings, police said.

In order to claim her winnings, the woman was told she had to pay $5000 worth of fees.

After paying up, and not receiving her winnings, the woman phoned her daughter.

Her daughter then explained that her social media account had been hacked weeks ago and she had no knowledge of the conversations about the so-called winnings, police said.

According to police, malware had been planted on the victim's mobile device following interactions with the links involved in the messages, and identifying information was in the scammer's possession.

"The extra layer of complication in this instance was that the retiree had suspicions from the outset about whether or not the offer was in fact genuine," the police representative said.

"She took steps to confirm what her next step should be by communicating with someone she trusted.

"It was certainly not expected that she was in fact speaking to another scammer."

Police warned that if people received an offer which seemed too good to be true, whether it was received by phone, mail, text, email or social media, they should proceed with caution.

Anyone who has lost any identifying information or money through a scam of a similar nature is encouraged to contact the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) as soon as possible.

"Don't forget, if you have lost zero money, but a scammer has somehow received your identifying information, this can be the more harmful situation of the two," the police representative said.

To learn more about unexpected prizes and lottery scams, click here.


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