NARROW ESCAPE: Byron Bay businessman Terry Hannon narrowly avoided being scammed.
NARROW ESCAPE: Byron Bay businessman Terry Hannon narrowly avoided being scammed. Sue Gardiner

Scammer sucks in businessman

BYRON Bay businessman Terry Hannon is still reeling after almost being ripped off by a sophisticated computer scam.

Just one week after purchasing a new laptop, Mr Hannon was phoned by a man with a thick Indian accent claiming to be from Microsoft alerting him that his anti-virus software was nearly out of date.

Mr Hannon was convinced to give his caller access to his computer to check on its security and also pay to upgrade his anti-virus software.

It was only because his credit card failed that Mr Hannon was not ripped off by at least $230.

When the 56-year-old contacted his bank the next day to clear the payment at the urging of his Indian caller, he was alerted to the scam by staff.

In a sign of just how convincing the con artists can be, Mr Hannon had another highly computer-literate friend who also nearly fell for the same scam.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said there had been more than 1000 scam reports from NSW residents this year alone ranging from scams like Mr Hannon's through to itinerant con men offering building and home maintenance work including tree lopping, to false billing, bank refund and wealth creation rip-offs.

But Mr Stowe said this was just the tip of the iceberg.

"We know scams are under-reported, with many victims too embarrassed to make reports," he said.

"It's critical that people share information on scams and warn family members, friends and neighbours, particularly vulnerable members of the community.

"Innocent victims are losing money because scammers are sophisticated and convincing.

"They trade on people's trust in government agencies and banks and impersonate government officers, including tax office employees."



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