Scammers using fake AFP credentials to target vulnerable people

Scam warning

The Australian Federal Police wants to warn the community about a scam involving fake police representatives attempting to con money from the public.

AFP switchboard operators have received hundreds of calls in the past couple of months from people across Australia who have reported receiving calls from individuals claiming to be employed by the AFP.

The AFP will never call, email or contact you via social media and threaten to arrest you, demand money or ask for personal details.

Scammers are falsely identifying themselves as a Federal Agent and are 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.

Scammers are also targeting people via 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 or purchase online vouchers.

Sadly, some people have been manipulated by these offenders, including an elderly woman who reported that she deposited more than $16,000 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In other cases, people have withdrawn money from their account but fortunately, have spoken to family or friends and realised they are being scammed before handing over any funds.

The calls appear to come from a legitimate AFP number – but we want to stress that the AFP and the Australian Government more generally will never seek payment for fines or other matters over the phone.

AFP employees will never ask for money transfers, Bitcoins or online vouchers such as iTunes and GooglePlay.
The scammers have managed to mimic an AFP number to disguise their identity and police suspect the calls originate from overseas.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said these scammers were often stealing from the most vulnerable members of our community.

"Scammers take advantage of people's trust in authorities and fear of doing the wrong thing," Detective Superintendent Crossling said.

"Victims can feel an array of emotions – from helplessness and humiliation to anger and guilt – but it is important to know you are not to blame and help is available."

"The sooner people report fraud where the victim has suffered any financial loss, the better the chances that banks or authorities can help have funds returned."

Do not follow their instructions or keep them on the line. Do not call them back on the number they called you.

If you are contacted by someone you suspect is a scammer, please end the call immediately.

If you are in any doubt, you should look up the number of the AFP switch in your capital city, and then call and speak with a genuine AFP employee to be sure that the call was not real.

They will then confirm that it is a scam and you can then report the matter via the Scamwatch website.

EDITORS NOTE: Images of the fake arrest warrant can be downloaded here.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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