Consumers are being reminded to be cautious of cold callers after a Bunbury pensioner lost more than $40,000 to a telephone scam.
The man sent the money, totalling $44,320, via Western Union after a caller claiming to be from the West Australian Banking Association told him there was more than $6000 in overcharged bank fees waiting if he paid lawyer and processing charges.
The man told Consumer Protection he trusted the caller because they said the West Australian Banking Association was part of the State Government.
Consumer Protection spokeswoman Alina Cavanagh said people who received similar calls should not supply any information and should hang up.
“It’s also important to know that whenever a stranger requests money via a wire transfer service, such as Western Union, it is highly likely it’s a fraud, ” she said.
“The payment method is favoured by scammers because it lacks traceability and once the money is picked up you won’t be able to get it back.”
Until receiving the call, the elderly man had never used Western Union and did not realise it was the preferred method of transfer for scammers.
Ms Cavanagh said the man was groomed by the scammer and felt intimidated when he tried to stop sending money.
“It’s a very sad situation because the man trusted the fraudster was truly from the government — this is something I often hear from senior scam victims, ” she said.
WA Police Major Fraud Squad have been informed.
Anyone who receives a suspicious call is urged to call the Consumer Protection advice line on 1300 304 054.