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Australian Federal Police - Scammers posing as the AFP

Scammers posing as the AFP

Scammers are so unafraid of the law they are bold enough to pretend to be the Australian Federal Police (AFP). 

Even though these emails scam looks legitimate and contains AFP branding it is fake and comes from non-government email addresses.  In some cases the scammers have used addresses like TrafficInfringement.afp.org, TrafficInfringement.afp.com. or similar.

The emails are malicious and may infect computers with a simple click.

These emails are not from the AFP - If you get an email which looks like a fine from the AFP we suggest you follow these tips:
1. Do not open it

2. Do not click on any links

3. Delete it

4. Check your virus scanner is up-to-date and run a virus scan on your PC.

The AFP does not issue subpoenas via email, and advises anyone whos has recieved these emails to delete them from both your inbox and from deleted folder.

Any person who is concerned they may have responded to one of these emails, or clicked on the links, should report it through the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

The scammers regularly change their emails slightly to see if they can trick people into believing their latest attempt is legitimate.  We've managed to find a few versions for you to see below. 

Fake AFP fine - May 2016 version

AFPMay16

Fake AFP fine - March 2016 version

In early March 2016 WA ScamNet received a number of calls from Western Australians who had been served a supposed subpoena from the AFP via email. Shortly after Consumer Protection WA issued a warning, the AFP posted a media alert on their website.

AFPsubpoena

Fake AFP fine - 2015 version

You can read the AFP's media release from 2015 warning:  

The scam email initially asks the recipient to pay an ‘AFP fine’ of approximately $150. If links within the message are clicked, the recipient’s computer is infected with malware which renders it inoperable.

At that point ransomware is activated where the recipient is asked to pay thousands of dollars to reactivate their computer.

AFPfinescam

 

AFP computer seizure scam - 2012

Your computer suddenly stops working and your screen is filled with a warning supposedly from the Australian Federal Police (AFP). It says you have been targeted because you have allegedly broken copyright laws during downloading, been viewing inappropriate content or accessed data illegally.  Here are some versions of what it looks like:  

AFP computer seizure scam
Screen shot of the scam pop up
A screen shot of the AFP malware scam


According to the scam pop-up, to get your computer working normally again, and avoid a potential $100,000 fine, you are required to buy an Ukash voucher and enter the code.

 

A handful of consumers reported to Consumer Protection in September and October 2012 that they had been targeted by this s

cam. But like 

any new scam the number of people affected grew over the next few months and some people may never report it because they’re afraid or embarrassed about their online activity (the scammers have probably set up the illegal pop-up to appear in response to keywords you type into your computer). 

 

WA ScamNet contacted the AFP, which said it was investigating the misuse of its logo. The AFP also said it was in no way associated with this message and would never contact people out of the blue to ask for money. They also issued this media statement in 2012.


Key tips

1. Do not open suspicious emails

2. Do not click on any links

3. Delete suspiscious emails from both the inbox and deleted folder

4. Check your virus scanner is up-to-date and run a virus scan on your PC.

Remember no official or government organisation would ever:

  • email you a bill demanding immediate payment
  • ask you to make a payment via wire transfer e.g. Western Union or a voucher service like Ukash. These are preferred payment methods for scammers because the transaction is almost impossible to track and once the money has been received by the scammer the victim cannot get it back.
  • All government agencies have official websites and contact details - if you are unsure of a bill you have recieved, double check with the sender.  But DO NOT USE the details or links provided by the suspicious email. 

Where to get help

If you are a victim of these scams you should contact WA ScamNet (via the Consumer Protection advice line:1300 30 40 54) or ACORN.