Urgent warning over VERY elaborate phone scams which see hard-working Aussies swindled out of $10,000 by murky international crime gangs
- NSW Police issue warning abut phone scam linked to international crime group
- Victims were allegedly duped into handing over thousands in cash and gift cards
- Man who allegedly scammed $42,500 from three separate women to face court
- Public are now warned not to provide personal information on unsolicited calls
Police have issued an urgent warning after several Sydneysiders were allegedly tricked into handing over thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards.
Alleged scammers use a technique called ID spoofing, where caller purports to be from the police force or a government agency and demands money under threat of violence or arrest.
The caller convinces the person to hand over personal information and give instructions to either purchase gift cards or withdraw cash and hand it over to a particular person.
A Sydney man will face court in January after he allegedly scammed $42,500 in cash from three separate women (stock image)
One woman handed over $10,000 to a man she believed was an undercover police officer at a shopping centre at Miranda in Sydney’s south.
On December 4, she received a call from someone who told her they were from Service NSW and said that her tax file number and personal accounts had been compromised.
She was instructed to hand over the cash and call Cronulla Police Station to set up new accounts.
A 34-year-old man was arrested on December 11 over the scam.
Police allege he has obtained $42,500 in cash from three separate women using scam phone calls.
The Roselands man was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and recklessly deal with proceeds of crime
He was granted bail to appear in Sutherland Local Court on January 21.
The recent alleged scams has prompted NSW Police to issue a warning to people to not provide personal information on unsolicited calls (stock image)
Another woman gave a man $22,000 cash at a car park at a Wetherill Park shopping centre in Sydney’s south-west on December 14.
She had been told by a woman who said she was from the Australian Taxation Office that she had a tax debt that would be referred to police.
She then received a call from a man who said he was a police officer, who instructed her to hand over the cash.
Investigations by Liverpool Police into the incident continue.
Another case involved a western Sydney man who was told by someone posing as a police officer that his tax file number had been used by another person who was in debt to the tune of $1 million.
He was advised to buy gift cards worth $5500 to rectify the issue, and he provided his details to the caller.
Cumberland Police are investigating.
NSW Police have issued an urgent warning about elaborate phone scams which have allegedly ripped off Sydneysiders in the last month (stock image)
NSW Police warn the public not to provide personal information on unsolicited calls, but to call police instead.
‘These callers purport to be various government officials and the essence of the scam is to convince the victim they are in trouble, but they can pay their way out of it,’ financial crimes squad commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett said.
‘I want to make it very clear that NSW Police Force officers will not request money from you under any circumstances.’
‘Sadly, this is not the first time these types of scam phone calls have circulated in the community, and likely won’t be the last.’
Det Supt Howlett said these scams are often linked to organised criminal syndicates operating across the country and around the world, and are designed to take advantage of people’s trust in authorities.
She vowed all reports of fraud will be thoroughly investigated by police.
‘As we continue working with our law enforcement colleagues here and abroad to investigate the origins of these scams, we are urging the community to heed our warning not to respond to caller demands,’ Det Supt Howlett said.
Police urge anyone with information in relation to this scam to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam, report it to police or to the ACCC online at the ‘SCAMwatch report a scam’ page or call 1300 795 995.
Police tips to avoid being scammed
• If you receive a threatening phone call (and demanding money), hang up immediately;
• Do not disclose personal details to the caller;
• Never provide your personal or banking details to a person who calls you;
• Never provide your financial PIN or account passwords to anyone;
• Do not make any payments to the caller, either via phone, internet, or cash;
• If you are suspicious about the credentials of a person on the phone, ask questions of them. If they avoid answering or refuse to provide information, hang up;
• Don’t let scammers pressure you – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot;
• If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately; and
• Contact police immediately to report the incident.
Source: NSW Police