Law enforcement agency scams
State and Federal warnings about misuse of logos
Scammers are doing their homework on Government law enforcement agencies and copying logos and job titles in order to dupe people into sending them money.
October 2012 has seen the Australian Federal Police (AFP) warn people about misuse of their logo in the AFP computer seizure scam closely followed by a warning from Western Australia Police about the use of WA Police signage as a means to legitimise emails sent from overseas online fraudsters.
WA ScamNet has also received reports of scammers copying the logo of Australia's anti-money laundering watchdog in order to try to convince investment or beneficiary fraud victims that monies are being held for them.
According to the Major Fraud Squad, in order to convince Australian victims to send their money overseas, scammers are using WA Police banners, badges and logos to lend authenticity to their emails.
Further to that overseas offenders have recently sent letters and emails to victims, purporting to be from the WA Police including one from ‘WA Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan’.
Anyone who believes they have received fraudulent correspondence of this nature or is unsure as to its authenticity is advised not to reply and to contact the Major Fraud Squad on 9220 0700.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has now produced a similar warning about fraudsters using the ACC name and logo.
The warning comes after they were alerted to a fraudulent email purporting to be from ACC Chief Executive Officer John Lawler. The email asked the recipient to pay $900 into a Nigerian bank account in order to receive US$5 million.
Prior to that criminals used dating websites in an attempt to lure consumers into paying large sums of money for fake criminal background checks – that time the scammers posed as both the ACC and AFP.
Scam emails will come from a non-Government address. But if it’s truly from an organisation like the ACC it would contain @crimecommission.gov.au.
Another common misuse of a Government logo in emails is in Australian Taxation Office (ATO) scams.
There have even been recent spoof emails supposedly from Consumer Protection or WA ScamNet offering compensation to scam victims in order to extort further money from those who have already lost cash. It is important to note that WA Government has no such compensation scheme in place.
International authorities e.g. Nigerian Police
In 2010 someone selling a $250 portable PlayStation on eBay ended up losing almost $9,000 by getting caught up with a bogus buyer in an elaborate scam which involved fake emails from Nigerian Police, Customs and Central Bank.
As well as posing as international authorities they pretended to be from WA ScamNet, eBay and PayPal.
You read the full story in the media statement: Nigerians impersonate WA ScamNet.
Before sending money to anyone make sure you know they are authentic.
Check out official websites and never click on links contained in suspicious emails or reply to them directly.
If someone asks you to send money by wire transfer, alarm bells should ring loudly.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!