Australia’s leading scam reporting agency is warning Aussies to look out for scammers posing as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to steal money from vulnerable people.
Scammers are posing as members of the AFP and telling victims of ‘suspicious activity’ linked to their bank accounts, Scamwatch said in a recent alert.
The scammers will then ask for the victims’ personal details, including address, Medicare and banking information, before asking them to transfer money into an ‘AFP’ account.
Some scammers have also asked victims to hand over cash in public.
“The AFP (and the Australian Government) will never seek payment for fines or other matters over the phone,” Scamwatch said.
“The AFP will never call, email or contact you via social media to threaten to arrest you, demand you withdraw money or ask you to confirm personal details over the phone.”
Scammers use fake arrest warrants, demand cryptocurrency
Another method scammers are known to use is fake arrest warrants. The cyber criminals will phone their victims, demand payment, and ask them to deposit money into a bank account.
They may also demand money in unconventional ways, such as in the form of cryptocurrency or gift cards.
The real AFP, and any other government agency, will never have demands like these, said Scamwatch.
“The AFP will never ask you to pay a fine with cash, crypto currency such as Bitcoin, gift cards such as iTunes or Google Play, and will never call you to ask you to transfer funds into a bank account,” Scamwatch confirmed.
Scammers are also able to manipulate numbers to make it look as though the real AFP is calling, but the real police suspect that these numbers are actually ringing from overseas.
The warning comes as Australians battle an ever-rising volume of scam attempts as the pandemic leaves people expecting support payments and online packages.
And these scam attempts are successful, too, with a record amount of money already lost this year.
More than $192 million has been reported lost to scammers in 2021 so far, according to Scamwatch, exceeding the amount lost in all of 2020 ($175.7 million).