Canberrans lose hundreds of thousands to scams

DURING Scams Awareness Week, which runs until May 25, ACT police are urging Canberrans to be vigilant after a number of locals lost almost $700, 000 in recent months. 

Detective station sergeant Harry Hains says scammers use a number of methods to target members of the community.

“Scams can happen to anyone, of any age, anywhere in the world, and we have seen this occur in the ACT quite frequently in recent months. This is alarming, and shows the importance of education and increasing awareness,” he says.

Scams in recent months has seen Canberrans lose over $690,000. In one scam, which was an investment scam, a victim transfer over $650,000 over several months to an off-shore share trading company.

Another saw a victim defrauded of $39,000 through money transfers and gift vouchers through a series of phone calls from alleged Microsoft, Telstra and Australian Federal Police employees.

And another user of a messaging application, “WeChat” was asked to receive two bank transfers totalling $1300 from another user, and send it on to another bank account. The victim transferred the money and never received the $1300 from the scammer.

“Recently we have seen scammers hijack the email accounts of real estate agents and send clients new details for payments of large amounts of money,” Mr Hains says.

“I encourage anyone who is paying money to a business online to confirm with the business that the account details are correct. Do this in person or over the phone before sending any money.”

“Unfortunately, scams involving financial and emotional losses are underreported.”

The top five scams in the ACT are:

  1. Investments
  2. Threats to life, arrest or other
  3. Dating and romance
  4. Upfront payment and advanced fee fraud
  5. Pyramid schemes

If you become a victim of a scam, contact ScamWatch and ACT Policing on 131 444 or attend a local police station to make a report.

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