NEW and more scammers are finding different ways to try and gain access to personal information.
With a number of different ways people are targeting residents, Police within the region are hosting an information session for people to learn how to keep their details safe.
Wimmera Proactive Policing Unit's Leading Senior Constable Toni Chegwin said some concerned residents had approached her about people being scammed in the area.
"The session will be around educating people about if it is too good to be true, it generally is," she said.
"If it's not a normal bill or something you don't normally get you to need to check it.
"A morning tea will be hosted at the Stawell Neighbourhood House on Thursday, June 20 at 11am with a few Police members there to discuss any issues people might have."
Ararat Detective Senior Constable Mal Wineberg said there were a number of different scams to watch out for.
"Scams aren't just targeted to individuals - all people can be contacted by scammers," he said.
"A lot of scams focus on trying to get personal details such as name, phone number and credit card details. These are known as phishing scams.
"The warning signs to look for are unsolicited phone calls where people are claiming to be banks or telecommunication providers."
Senior Constable Wineberg said telephone calls were only one of many ways scammers will try and get someone's attention.
"Emails and text messages are another way these scammers try to get your information," he said.
"If you receive any correspondence the best thing to do is go to your bank or telecommunications company and ask if they had sent the message to you. If not, delete it straight away.
If it is too good to be true, it generally is.Wimmera Proactive Policing Unit's Leading Senior Constable Toni Chegwin
"Also don't be afraid to hang up the phone. If they become persistent you can contact the police station if you have any concerns. If a number shows up when calling, write it down and take it to the station."
With current outages in the area to resident's landline and internet connections, Senior Constable Wineberg said it was important to be aware of people asking to access your computer.
"These type of scams are called remote access scams," he said.
"It's where people call up and pretend to be a staff member of a telecommunications company and say there is a problem with your internet or connection.
"They may ask you to buy software to correct that mistake and ask for remote access to your computer. Do not give anybody access to your computer unless you have contacted the company yourself.
"Another scam which can catch people out are links or pop-ups which say you have won something or received money from a will or unknown source. My advice is not to click on those links."
READ MORE: Scammers hitting record numbers of victims
Senior Constable Wineberg said another scam which people often get caught out with is buying iTunes cards and gift cards.
"If people request you to go and buy gift cards or iTunes cards and give them the serial numbers, do not follow their directions," he said.
"People can be told to buy gift cards because they owe money somewhere and to pay it off they need to buy gift cards."
Stawell Uniting Church Reverend Susan Pearse said she contacted Leading Senior Constable Chegwin after concerns from residents within the community.
"I believe someone has had money stolen from a credit card scam," she said.
"I am not across all the details but someone felt concerned enough to reach out to me and ask if we should do something about it.
"People can feel isolated. Especially people on their own or as they get older they can be more at risk.
"Word doesn't always get around about these scams until we hear them happening."
Reverend Pearse said a number of years ago she almost fell for a scammer on the phone.
"These people sound very convincing on the phone," she said.
"Someone was asking to access my computer on the phone. I rang my nephew who works in IT and he told me to hang up.
"The guy on the other end of the phone was telling me not to hang up but something just didn't feel right and I'm glad I sought advice."
Scamwatch is a website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
For more information on scams visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Northern Grampians shire, sign up here.