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Scamwatch: Don’t fall for scammers pretending to be Federal Police

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Every year, thousands of Australians are targeted by scams, whether it be online, via phone, mail or even in person.

Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, www.cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities.

Scammers pretend to be Australian Federal Police

DON'T FALL FOR IT: Some scammers are falsely identifying themselves as a Federal Agent and telling victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts.

DON’T FALL FOR IT: Some scammers are falsely identifying themselves as a Federal Agent and telling victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts.

  • Police have received reports of scams involving fake Australian Federal Police (AFP) representatives targeting vulnerable members of the community, according to Scamwatch.gov.au.
  • Some scammers are falsely identifying themselves as a Federal Agent and telling victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts. They then request personal details, including a Medicare number, address, and bank details.
  • The fake representatives ask their victim to deposit money into an AFP account.
  • Scammers are also targeting people using email and social media with fake arrest warrants.
  • The offenders then call their victims and demand payments ordering them to deposit money into a nominated bank account, transfer crypto currency, or purchase online vouchers.
  • Some scammers ask their victim to meet in public to hand over money, or ask them to withdraw funds from their account and deposit into an AFP account.
  • A number of people have been manipulated by these offenders. In some cases, people have deposited thousands of dollars into a scam bank account. In other cases, people have withdrawn money from their account but fortunately, have spoken to family or friends and realised they are being scammed before handing over any funds.
  • Phone calls from scammers may appear to come from a legitimate AFP number. In some reports, the scammers have managed to mimic an AFP number to disguise their identity. Police suspect these calls are actually coming from overseas.

Flubot scammers pivot on tactics

LOOK CLOSELY: Scammers have upped their flubot game with many scam texts not containing the telltale signs of spelling mistakes.Picture: Scamwatch

LOOK CLOSELY: Scammers have upped their flubot game with many scam texts not containing the telltale signs of spelling mistakes.Picture: Scamwatch

  • Scamwatch.gov.au is warning that flubot scammers have updated their text messages yet again.
  • Since August 2021, many Australians have been getting scam text messages about missed calls or voicemails.
  • Starting in September 2021, many Flubot messages now talk about a delivery.
  • The new version of these scam text messages says it’s your last chance to collect a package.
  • hey often refer to DHL and always ask you to take some form of action in relation to the ‘delivery’.
  • Scamwatch is urging recipients to not be fooled, do not click on the link. This downloads malware which gives scammers access to your phone.
  • Android phones and iPhones can both receive texts from the Flubot.
  • Unlike earlier Flubot messages (which are also still circulating), the new text messages usually don’t contain spelling mistakes, so they can be harder to spot.
  • They do contain a website link followed by 6-8 random letters and numbers.

Vaccine passport scams

BE SCAM SAFE: If you receive a message like this, delete it and don't click on the link. Picture: courtesy of Scamwatch.gov.au

BE SCAM SAFE: If you receive a message like this, delete it and don’t click on the link. Picture: courtesy of Scamwatch.gov.au

  • As COVID-19 restrictions start to ease for vaccinated people in some parts of Australia, Scamwatch is urging people to beware of scams relating to vaccine passports.
  • These can look convincing but are a scam designed to steal your personal info.
  • If you receive a text message or email stating that a vaccine passports is now available by clicking on a link, delete the message straight away.
  • Do not click on the link.

Missed call or voicemail (Flubot) scams

Australians have been getting scam text messages about missed calls or voicemails.

Australians have been getting scam text messages about missed calls or voicemails.

  • Since August 2021, many Australians have been getting scam text messages about missed calls or voicemails. Less than three weeks after this scam was first reported, Scamwatch had received over 5500 reports of these scams. These scams have also already been a problem overseas in 2021.
  • The text messages ask you to tap on a link to download an app to hear a voicemail message. However, the message is fake, there is no voicemail, and the app is actually malicious software called Flubot.
  • Android phones and iPhones can both receive texts from the Flubot. If you receive one of these messages, do not click or tap on the link. Delete the message immediately.
  • The text message often begins with 5-6 random lowercase letters or numbers, then says you have a missed call or voicemail message.The text message may also have several misspellings. Here are some examples.
  • ab12c3 Nfw voice yessage received
  • gh6tr7 Voicemail message receiied
  • x78y9z New oozce-message received

Fake delivery service

 Gumtree will never ask for payment or credit card details for the sale of an item.

Gumtree will never ask for payment or credit card details for the sale of an item.

  • Shopping on Gumtree? Scamwatch is urging consumers to be on the lookout for fraudsters offering a ‘Gumtree delivery service’ with the sale of their products.
  • Gumtree does not offer such a service.
  • To protect yourself, use Gumtree messages to chat whenever possible and remember Gumtree will never ask for payment or credit card details for the sale of an item.

‘Celebrity’ cryptocurrency scams resurfacing

  • Scamwatch is urging people no to fall for schemes that claim to be endorsed by #celebrities or public figures – these are almost always a #scam.
  • Investors should conduct thorough research and check investment warnings before handing over hard earned cash.

Scammers stealing house deposits

CHECK THE DETAILS: Don't let your home deposit fall into the hands of scammers.

CHECK THE DETAILS: Don’t let your home deposit fall into the hands of scammers.

  • False billing and payment redirection are pretty common methods for scamming people however it seems fraudsters are using it to target home buyers, according to Scamwatch.gov.au
  • Scammers can intercept invoices and change the bank details, redirecting big payments to their own pockets.
  • A legitimate business will send an invoice or bank details for the the property deposit to be sent to. Scammers will intercept the email and change the bank details to their own.
  • From there, the home buyer will make the deposit using the amended email details. The scammer gets the money and the legitimate business and the purchaser lose out.

Streaming service scams

BEWARE: Payment redirections scams are often only detected when your regular supplier asks why they have not been paid.

BEWARE: Payment redirections scams are often only detected when your regular supplier asks why they have not been paid.

  • Binge-watching your favourite shows during lockdown? Scamwatch is urging account holders to think twice before responding to a request from a streaming service to ‘update your payment details’.
  • Always double check the sender to avoid false billing scams.
  • Scammers posing as a regular supplier may claim that their banking details have changed. They may tell you they have recently changed banks, and may use stolen letterhead and branding to convince you they are legitimate.
  • They will provide you with a new bank account number and ask that all future payments are processed accordingly. The scam is often only detected when your regular supplier asks why they have not been paid.

Shipping container scams

GET VERIFICATION: Scamwatch is urging people to be on the lookout for fake online listings for shipping containers.

GET VERIFICATION: Scamwatch is urging people to be on the lookout for fake online listings for shipping containers.

  • Scamwatch is urging people to be on the lookout for fake online listings for shipping containers.
  • The website has received 29 reports with $136,518 in losses to shipping container scams in the past week.

Scammers using Census to target victims

  • Scamwatch is warning that with the The ABS Census coming up, people should be wary of scammers trying to take advantage and steal personal information.
  • The ABS will never ask for bank or tax file details and doesn’t offer prizes for taking part in surveys. If you are unsure if a call or email is genuine, contact 1300 135 070.

Tax time scams resurface

SCAM ALERT: The ATO does not suspend TFNs and will never request you pay a fine or transfer money in order to protect your TFN pending legal action.

SCAM ALERT: The ATO does not suspend TFNs and will never request you pay a fine or transfer money in order to protect your TFN…

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