Jannah Hardefelt and her fiance Josh Bruen are the owners of Northern Rivers Fencing which was recently targeted by a scammer.
Jannah Hardefelt and her fiance Josh Bruen are the owners of Northern Rivers Fencing which was recently targeted by a scammer. Contributed

SCAMWATCH: 'Deaf' man using stolen credit cards

Thursday 10.30am: IT SEEMED like a reasonable request when Jannah Hardefeldt of Northern Rivers Fencing received an email asking for a quote.

"My name is Frank Murphy. I am new to the area and I have just acquired a 3-bedroom-house," the email read.

"Hence i need a parmanent (sic) pool fencing. Can i have you in for inspection and quote? Also do you accept credit card for payment. I await your urgent response."

Ms Hardefeldt responded saying the quote was no problem with a quote and asked for details of time and place.

'Frank' responded with a little more of his story giving an address in Alstonville and also explaining that he was hearing impaired and was in hospital ready to undergo "a double cochlear implants surgery".

He further explained the removalists would be moving his items to the house and could a Northern Rivers Fencing representative meet them there.

"Hence I will send you my credit card details accordingly."

Ms Hardefeldt explained the business did not have a credit card facility, so 'Frank' persisted offering a couple of links  she could go to, to set up credit car facilities.

Ms Hardefeldt said her fiance and owner of the business Josh Bruen heard alarm bells and told her not to respond to the email any longer.

After a little research they found other businesses who had also received similar emails, although the names were always different.

"What he gets you to do is make a transaction with the credit card number he provides," Ms Hardefeldt said.

"He asks you to pay the delivery man and take some money for yourself."

Although Ms Hardefeldt never went that far, other businesses reported that the credit cards were showing up as stolen.

The Northern Star checked the address that 'Frank' gave to Ms Hardefeldt to find out it was on the market, but the real estate agent confirmed it was not sold and no one was moving into it.


Wednesday 9am: FLOOD affected home owners and businesses are being warned to watch out for scam artists posing as builders or insurance company assessors.

Insurance companies have received calls from distraught policyholders in northern New South Wales who have been doorknocked by scammers demanding cash for clean-up, inspection and repair services.

Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan said being aware of scam repairers and builders could save policyholders from becoming victims twice.

"This racket is generally carried out by travelling conmen and woman who typically target elderly or vulnerable householders, though business owners are also being approached," he said.

"They often claim to represent the insurance company and pressure the householder or business owner for money to inspect the roof or other damage.

"They may offer special deals on repairs, demanding cash up front, and leaving the job unfinished or poorly done.

"They will sometimes pressure their victims to drive to an ATM to withdraw money."

Residents are urged that is someone knocks at their door claiming to represent an insurer to contact their insurance company to check their identity.

"An insurance company representative would never demand cash to carry out an inspection," Mr Whelan said.

"Never agree to repairs that you may wish to lodge an insurance claim for without first checking with your insurer.

"Not only are these scammers unlikely to do a good job, but unauthorised work may not be covered by your insurance policy."

The ICA recommends:

. If unexpectedly approached by a contractor or assessor, ask to see credentials

. If you are not satisfied, contact your insurance company to make sure they are appointed by your insurer. Contractors and assessors authorised by insurers will normally notify customers in advance before repairs or inspections take place

. If you remain suspicious, ask to see the contractor or assessor's driver's licence and write down the licence number and their vehicle's licence plate number

. Do not hand over any form of payment directly to a contractor or assessor requesting cash unless authorised by your insurer to do so. Do not sign a contract with someone who identity you have been unable to verify

. Contact your insurance company and seek advice about the repairs process under your policy



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