Locals targeted in 'Government Reclaims Department' scam

PEOPLE across the Fraser Coast are reporting an increase in dodgy calls as the Office of Fair Trading issues a warning against the latest scammers phoning Queenslanders.

The OFT Queensland website explains how the most recent scam sees a caller claim to be from the "Australian Government Reclaims Department" and that for a small legal fee you can claim a refund of between $5000 and $7000 for excess utility payments.

One scam-savvy Maryborough woman told the Chronicle how she received a call from a person who used her personal details to claim he was a government employee.

"He knew my name, my phone number and my address and used that information to try and prove he was working for the Australian Government.

"He said I was entitled to a refund and that I had to let him know my bank account details so he could process my claim.

"I was suspicious so I insist for his number so that I could call him back. He refused and eventually, he just hung up."

More than a dozen others have reported similar occurrences.

A Hervey Bay police spokeswoman said people needed to be cautious.

"People should be wary of anyone who is asking for personal details that wouldn't usually be provided over the phone such as PINs and passwords and confirming amounts that are in accounts," she said

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which deals with claims through the Scam Watch website, has reported, in the latest figures released last year, that phone scams were on the rise.

According to the ACCC, more than $93 million was lost in scams in 2012 alone.