SCARS™ Insight: Australia Reports Government Impersonation Scams On The Rise

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Insight: Australia Reports Government ImpersonationImpersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. On The Rise

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, governmental impersonations are exploding online!

Australians are being urged to watch out for government impersonation scams with over $1.26 million lost from more than 7100 reports made to Scamwatch so far this year and in reality, losses are likely to be far greater.

There has been an increase in scams reported during tax time such as text messages claiming to be from myGov or from agencies claiming to help victims gain early access to their superannuation.

“Scammers are increasingly taking advantage of the financial difficulties and uncertainty generated from the COVID-19 pandemic to trick unsuspecting Australians,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“We are seeing two main types of scams impersonating government departments; fake government threats and phishing scams.”

“Both of these scams can be quite convincing and can lead to significant financial losses or even identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources..”

In a fake government threat scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., victims receive a robocall pretending to be from a government department, such as the ATOAccount Takeover Account Takeover (ATO) are the unauthorized access of a user’s account in order to steal identity credentials, execute a fraudulent transaction or engage in varying types of abuse. or Department of Home Affairs.

The scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. will claim something illegal, such as tax fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. or money launderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions., has been committed in the victim’s name and they should dial 1 to speak to an operator.

The scammer then tries to scare people into handing over money and may threaten that they would be arrested if they refuse.

“Don’t be pressured by a threatening caller and take your time to consider who you might be dealing with,” Ms Rickard said.

“Government departments will never threaten you with immediate arrest or ask for payment by unusual methods such as gift cards, iTunes vouches or bank transfers.”

In a phishing scamPhishing scam Scammers often use email "phishing" to hook unsuspecting fraud victims. Treat all unsolicited email and spam as suspicious: Do not open or reply. To avoid loading malicious software onto your computer or device, never click a link – even from a trusted source – unless you've verified its authenticity. Be especially wary of emails asking for emergency funds or help from friends, family and colleagues. Their email accounts may have been hacked. Scammers will also pretend to be government agencies in scam emails., victims will receive an email or text message claiming to be from a government department, such as Services Australia, requesting personal details to confirm their eligibility for a government payment or because the person may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The emails and texts will include a link and request personal details such as a tax file number, superannuation details or copies of identity documents.

“Don’t click on any hyperlinks in texts or emails to reach a government website, always type the address into the browser yourself,” Ms Rickard said.

“Do not respond to texts or emails as the scammer will escalate their attempts to get your money.”

“If you’re not sure whether a call is legitimate, hang up and call the relevant organisation directly by finding the details though an independent search,” Ms Rickard said.

More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.

The ACCC also recommends that you report the scam to the government department that was impersonated.

We also suggest that you report it the national police (such as Australia’s Federal Police or the U.S. FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. www.IC3.gov)

Background

So far in 2020 (1 January-5 July 2020) ACCC’s Scamwatch has received:

  • 67 reports of scams involving impersonation of the Department of Health, or state Department of Health and Human Services, with losses over $8700
  • 443 reports of scams involving Australian Federal Police impersonations with losses over $176,000
  • 1,070 reports of scams involving Services Australia impersonations with losses over $94,000
  • 1,638 reports of scams involving myGov impersonations with losses over $105,000
  • 2,016 reports of scams involving Department of Home Affairs impersonations with losses over $99,000
  • 2,389 reports of scams involving ATO impersonations with losses over $905,000.

 

 

 

 

TAGS: SCARS, About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, ACCC, Scamwatch, Australian Government Scams

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Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?

It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.

Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:

  1. Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
  2. U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
  3. Your National Police or FBI « www.IC3.gov »
  4. The SCARS|CDN™ Cybercriminal Data Network – Worldwide Reporting Network on « www.Anyscam.com »

This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.


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To learn more about SCARS visit « www.AgainstScams.org »

Please be sure to report all scammers
on « www.Anyscam.com »

 

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