Australia Warns of Money Recovery Phishing Luring Past Victims
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is raising awareness about a spike in money recovery scams.
The agency warns in an alert today that reports of money recovery scams this year have increased in Australia by 725% compared to the same period in 2021.
The losses reported in Q1 2022 are estimated to be $270,000 (up by 301% compared to 2021), which add up to losses incurred by victims who previously fell for the same type of scam.
The case appears to be particularly effective because the original scammers maintain a list of people who proved to be gullible, having been scammed in the context of other campaigns.
Although these people have higher than average alertness due to past negative experiences, they are still very likely to fall for the trap because of the believable theme used in the second attempt.
Coming back for more
The scammers approach their victims out of the blue via phone or email, posing as a money recovery firm, law office, or a special government task force that offers help with the recovery of previously stolen funds.
The threat actors then ask the victims to fill out fake paperwork, to make this appear as a legitimate procedure and also demand an up-front payment to cover the processing fees.
Apart from stealing the identification details of these people, some of the threat actors also request remote access to the victims’ computers or smartphones, supposedly to look for the original scammers’ traces.
In other cases, the fraudsters contact people who haven’t been scammed, and present a range of potential recovery amounts to entice them.
Believing they’re about to receive a significant sum due to an error in the system, victims give away money, personal details, and remote system access to crooks.
“Scammers can be very convincing and one way to spot them is to search online for the name of the organization who contacted you with words like ‘complaint’, ‘scam’ or ‘review’”, mentions ACCC‘s Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
What to do instead
If you are a victim of online fraud in Australia or New Zealand, you are advised to contact IDCare, the official national identity and cyber support service.
Reporting phishing emails to the agency will help track fraudsters, protect other people from being scammed, and possibly result in compensation for registered and validated victims.
Also, people who suspect they have been scammed should contact their bank and card issuer immediately and place their accounts under fraud monitoring.
Do not give away your information or money to anyone else no matter what claims they make, but instead report these attempts to IDCare as suspicious.