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American who moved to Australia gets duped by scam she 'thought had died off in the '70s'

She just wanted to get out of the situation and now needs help.

An American who recently moved to Australia has revealed how she got duped into a scam she hadn't seen in decades. Scams come in all shapes and sizes these days and while high-tech ones are getting a lot of attention, it seems there are still some old-school ones popping up.

The woman said she was approached by a "nice looking, young, tall, blonde" man as she was going inside her house. He told her she was eligible for a free carpet cleaning service and said she could be entered into a draw to win $1,000.

She said she suffers with severe anxiety when it comes to saying no to people and found the confrontation difficult to get away from. But she tried to be nice and told him she doesn't have any carpet in the hope it would send him packing.

The American was caught off guard and didn't know she was getting duped into a scam. (Source: Getty)
The American was caught off guard and didn't know she was getting duped into a scam. (Source: Getty)

Have you been a victim of a similar scam? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

"I was super caught off guard, I also have severe confrontation anxiety and I have trouble in situations like this so I tend to panic and be too nice to avoid conflict," she said on social media.

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"So I literally smiled, took the flyer and was like, 'Ohhh wow, thanks'. He said, 'Do you like free stuff? Because it’s free!'"

She thought by saying she doesn't have carpet it would get him to walk away, but he persisted.

"He is like, 'Don’t worry young lady we will clean tile as well!' I was like, 'Ohh wow that’s crazy really? It's free?' (I’m so stupid)," she recalled.

"He says, 'Who’s in charge of rent/the house and that sort of stuff here?' I tell him, 'Ohhh not me at all it’s my husband'. He asks for my husbands name (I gave it stupidly) and he goes, 'We’ll pop around Sunday at 2 for your free cleaning!'"

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The American said she had never encountered door to door salesmen and "thought they died off in the '70s".

She admitted she was naive and "wasn't being smart" when the man was talking to her. It was only after she had a conversation with her husband did she realise what had happened.

"I immediately told my husband about the interaction and he goes, 'Yes those are the vaccum scammers, they go to every house, you didn’t win anything, they want you to buy cleaning devices, you don’t get anything'," she wrote.

Her husband explained that she should have just said no and shut the door on the man.

The American said she felt "awful" for not picking up on the scam and thought it was a "community giveaway or charity thing".

She asked people on social media for help on how to get rid of the salesman for when he comes on the weekend for the "free cleaning". Some suggested she should open the door with a mask on and pretend she had COVID while others said her husband should be at the door at 2pm and tell the man to walk away.

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How do I protect myself from scammers?

Aussies lost a record $3.1 billion to scammers last year, an 80 per cent increase on the previous year.

Scamwatch warn to beware of the following scenarios:

  • It’s an amazing opportunity to make or save money

  • Someone you haven’t met needs your help - and money

  • The message contains links or attachments

  • You feel pressured to act quickly

  • They ask you to pay in an unusual or specific way

  • They ask you to set up new accounts or Pay ID

What should I do if I think I’ve been scammed?

Contact your bank and report the scam. Ask them to stop transactions and stop sending any money.

Report the scam to Scamwatch here and make an official complaint to police here.

Watch out for follow up scams, particularly ones promising they can get your money back. Scamwatch warned one in three victims of a scam are scammed more than once.

Lastly, get support for yourself. You can talk to a financial counsellor or reach out to BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or here for an online chat or Lifeline for crisis support online here on 13 11 14.

You can also contact IDCARE to “reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation”.