Good call: mechanic foils con job by ‘deaf’ scammer

Too good to be fooled: Brad Carter says if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Too good to be fooled: Brad Carter says if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

echanic foils

Heavy diesel mechanic Brad Carter said he was happy to accommodate a deaf client when they made contact through the National Relay Service.

An electrician friend had been approached through an ad on classifieds site Gumtree and referred them to Mr Carter.

The scammer, who went by the name Kylie Cowen, used a hearing impairment as reason for the relay service and email-only contact.

Over two days, the exchange escalated quickly for Mr Carter, who said he had suspicions early on.

Mr Carter provided a quote for repairs on a car being towed from Queensland. The scammer accepted Mr Carter�s quote and asked him to take more than $2500 from a credit card and forward $1750 of it to the tow truck service through Western Union, and to keep the rest.

�It sounded suspicious but I went along with it to get as many details from her as possible to forward on to the Department of Commerce,� Mr Carter said.

�When they asked about payment, I just said something was wrong with the number and they haven�t followed up since.�

Mr Carter is one of four West Australians to report a fraud to ScamNet where the scammer claimed they had a hearing impairment.

A spokeswoman at Scam Net recommended people get in contact with card providers to confirm authenticity of credit card details taken over the phone.

�When taking credit card details over the phone or via email, businesses should check with the card issuer to ensure it is an authorised transaction. If the details have been stolen, the bank will disallow the payment made to the business,� she said.

Mr Carter warned people to trust their instincts.

�I went with my gut feeling that something wasn�t right; if something sounds too good to be true, it is,� he said.

Tips to keep you safe

Every year one in 20 Aussies fall victim to scams.

� Be alert to the fact that scams exist: when dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.

� Know who you are dealing with: do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them.

� Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails � delete them.

� Keep your personal details secure: put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

� Keep your mobile devices and computers secure: always use password protection and do not share access with others.

� Choose your passwords carefully: choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. Beware of any requests for your details or money: never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you do not know or trust.

� Be careful when shopping online: beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust.