Murrumbidgee's elderly residents are increasingly falling for overseas scams.
Our police are on the war-path to help those who fall prey to these callous threats, stepping up a campaign to "victim harden" those most vulnerable.
Senior Constable Naomi Wilmot is heading the Murrumbidgee Crime Prevention team's project, which is getting local organisations like Meals On Wheels, churches and medical surgeries on board to explain what to look out for in a one-on-one setting.
Senior Constable Wilmot has helped deliver scam watch material and next of kin forms to elderly people in Griffith, and spoke to each person and family members present.
She says further information is set to be filtered through to over 80 house bound elderly and vulnerable persons provided though one-on-one talks.
Team member Sergeant Cherie Knox says this direct education is vital, as they are seeing scamming victims coming through their doors on a weekly basis.
"We see it so often - people telling us they have been threatened with arrest to buy gift cards to pay their bills, especially the vulnerable, isolated or remote," she explained.
All too familiar to her are the tales of victims staying on the phone to the scammer as they head to the supermarket to buy gift cards to pay so-called outstanding bills or debt.
Scammers have even ordered taxis if the victim cannot drive, sometimes directing them for further direct transfers.
While most of these scams come from overseas, she says the trouble is they localise the company by using recognisable organisations and companies like Origin Energy, the Australian Taxation Office or NBN. Romance scams have also taken casualties around the Murrumbidgee district.
As catching those responsible is not a reality, disrupting and preventing these crimes by educating those most likely to be vulnerable is their best weapon.
Most common scams according to the ACCC include dating and romance, investment, threat and penalty, unexpected money, prize and lottery, online shopping and auction, identity theft, job and employment, charity and medical scams and small business scams.
Murrumbidgee police officers will have a stall outside Target during the Community Services Expo on Thursday between 10am and 2pm.
For more information, head to ACCC Scam Watch website here.
Anyone who cannot get online or to the information session is always welcome to call the Griffith Police Station on 6969 4299 or come in to speak with officers.
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