Police are warning of CQ people being targeted in cyber scams.
Police are warning of CQ people being targeted in cyber scams. Sean Owens

Woman warned before losing thousands to 'Telstra' scam

IT started with a phone call from "Telstra" and ended costing an 80-year-old Gracemere woman $4000.

The Laos scam is one of two cyber crimes in the Gracemere area in the past few days that have prompted police to issue a warning.

The 80-year-old woman unwittingly found herself in the midst of an international scam after receiving a call from someone representing "Telstra", Gracemere Police Sergeant Anthony Houston said.

Sgt Houston said the woman was told her computer had been hacked and she would need to fix the issue.

He said she was directed to an open internet site.

She made two separate money transfers to an address in Laos and Vietnam.

On one occasion Australia Post workers warned her it had all the hallmarks of a scam, but it wasn't until she'd made the transfer that she went to police.

He said in the second case, a 69 year-old Gracemere woman was deceitfully convinced by persons who telephoned her identifying themselves as "Centrelink" employees to purchase a $300 iTunes voucher and to provide them with the unique code for the voucher.

Sgt Houston said the woman was told she was owed back pay, however there was a $300 expense to get the money.

"The informant advised that the call taker sounded professional and even had extension options for her to dial," he said.

"The informant advised that the callers all had foreign accents and were difficult to understand."

Sgt Houston said reports of cyber crime weren't overly common at Gracemere, so two in the space of a few days had him worried vulnerable people were being targetted.

He urged people to be alert and that "if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is".

For more information on how to stay safe online, go to www.staysmartonline.gov.au.