Solar scam phone caller threatens to burn house down

SOLAR: A Ballina woman says she was threatened by a scammer.
SOLAR: A Ballina woman says she was threatened by a scammer.

A BALLINA woman has reported a solar rebate scam to police after the caller threatened to burn her house down.

The woman - who did not want to be named - said she received a phone call last week from a man who claimed she was eligible for a "great rebate" on solar panels for her home.

"I knew straight away that it was a scam, because I have received plenty of tips from the Do Not Call Register," she said.

She engaged the man in a conversation in an attempt to work out the name of the company and where they were based.

But after a short time the man became frustrated and told the woman: "We will burn your house down".

"When he said that, I said, 'excuse me?'. And he said it again: 'We are going to come over there and burn your house to the ground'.

"I told him that he was threatening me and he hung up.

"Straight away he rang back and said the same thing.

"He said it five or six times, and then he called me a rude old lady and he swore at me."

The Ballina woman immediately phoned the police and made a complaint. They advised her to also log the complaint with Crime Stoppers.

A trace has been placed on her phone in case the man calls again.

"If an elderly person got that phone call, they would be scared out of their wits," the woman said.

"It is disgusting behaviour and it was a hell of a shock."

SCAMwatch, run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, says it receives regular reports of "green scheme" scammers.

"Unfortunately scammers are preying on this desire to 'go green' by offering fake government rebates for initiatives like solar heating and hot water, insulation and water tanks, as well as fake energy saving devices," the website states.

"Australian Government departments will never phone or email you asking you to pay upfront amounts in order to claim a rebate."

Topics:  crime editors picks police scam solar power

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