Maitland seniors briefed on tips and tactics to avoid costly scams

Parliamentary Secretary Scot MacDonald and Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean on Wednesday.
Parliamentary Secretary Scot MacDonald and Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean on Wednesday.

Seniors from Maitland were briefed on Wednesday on the best tips and tricks to avoid common scams.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC joined specialist NSW Fair Trading staff at Fresh Hope Care Green Hills yesterday to raise awareness with seniors about dodgy tradies and cunning con artists.

Residents learned about the many different types of scams, including investment “opportunities”; romance scams; non-existent government rebates; and fake lotteries.

Mr MacDonald said those aged over 65 were more likely than younger people to become victims of scams.

“Last year, across Australia, there were about 6,700 reports of scams against 18 to 24-year-olds who lost a total of about $2.4 million,” Mr MacDonald said.

“By comparison, there were more than 25,000 reports of scams against people aged 65 and over for a total loss of around $17.5 million – that’s eight times as much as their younger counterparts.

“There are many theories as to why older people are more susceptible to scams, ranging from a lack of internet savvy to being more trusting, but one thing’s certain, getting fleeced by a scammer can have a devastating impact.”

Matt Kean MP in Maitland on Wednesday.

Matt Kean MP in Maitland on Wednesday.

Mr Kean said he was proud to see Fair Trading staff in Maitland sharing their expert knowledge on how to avoid scammers.

“It’s important that we spread awareness of scams and educate vulnerable members of the community so they can identify and protect themselves from dodgy businesses,” Mr Kean said.

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  • Scammers often target their potential victims through telephone calls, SMS messages, mobile apps, house visits, emails and online chat forums – consumers should ignore suspicious attempts at communication.
  • Be aware of storm-related scams from bogus charities and dodgy door-to-door tradespeople following wild weather.
  • Consumers should never respond to unsolicited requests for personal details – keep your personal details private.
  • Never click on a link in the body of an email, even if it looks like it’s from a reputable source. 
  • Always use secure payment methods when buying online and be careful about purchasing products from overseas.
  • If you pay with a credit card you may be able to seek a ‘chargeback’ – a reversal of a payment - from your financial institution if things go wrong.
  • Independently check any requests or offers and remember the golden rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Consumers should report any activity they suspect is a scam to NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 and Scamwatch at