Suspicious tornado raffle scam
BETHWYN JOHNS was well within her rights to be suspicious.
The person on the other end of the phone claiming to be selling raffle tickets to help the State Emergency Service couldn’t pronounce Lennox Head and didn’t even seem to know where it was, asking what ‘other suburbs’ had been hit by the tornado that struck the township early this month.
Warning bells rang for Ms Johns, whose own home was lightly damaged by the tornado, and she declined to hand over her credit card details.
Sure enough, when she rang the SES a few minutes later, she was told the service knew nothing of a raffle.
What with the reports of dodgy traders and scammers targeting the village, many Lennox Head residents are understandably sensitive to potential scams at the moment.
In the days following the disaster, NSW Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge issued a warning to residents, telling them to keep an eye out forpeople posing as tradesmen who ‘only stick around long enough to be paid’.
That warning came as people claiming to be tradesmen tried to pressure a 90-year-old tornado victim into handing over,up-front, money for work she hadn’t asked them to do.
Such shonks had reportedly been doing ‘laps’ of the village trying to rip off unsuspecting and desperate residents.
However, not everything that looks like a scam and smells like a scam is a scam.
When Ms Johns rang the SES she was correctly told the org-anisation was not running a raffle or contacting residents to get them to buy tickets.
That’s because the raffle was being run by the SES Volunteer Association, an auxiliary group which is not part of the SES, but which works exclusively to support the service and help itsvolunteers.
Ms Johns yesterday said she was delighted to be proven wrong.
“It’s nice to know there is still human kindness out there,” she said.