Police scam targets emails

Albany Advertiser

Great Southern residents have been warned of active scammers claiming to be WA police officers, after one resident was targeted seven times.

Consumer Protection senior regional officer Iris Thomas said the scam had been active in recent weeks in the region but so far there had been no reports of victims falling for the email ruse.

“One lady who came into the office had received six of these emails, and while she was in the office received another one,” Ms Thomas said.

The scam uses either emails or telephone calls to contact residents, with scammers claiming to be police officers investigating fraud.

The caller advises the resident’s money is at risk and should be moved into a “safe account”, with details provided by the scammer.

WA Police’s Major Fraud Squad said police would never ask the public to transfer money for “safekeeping” during a fraud investigation.

One bogus identity used is “Sergeant William Connor from WA Fraud”, often used by phone scammers.

Consumer Protection has confirmed with WA Police that no Sgt William Connor works in the WA police force.

A gang of fraudsters were jailed in the UK over a similar scam.

It comes as Consumer Protection also warns residents of tax scams in the lead up to the end of the financial year.

The Australian Taxation Office reported 56 victims lost more than $258,000 in phone-based scams in WA in 2016, with eight victims already reporting losses of more than $15,000 so far this year.

Scammers contacted potential victims via phone or automated message claiming to be from the ATO.

They then made fake claims that the victim had an outstanding tax debt which required immediate payment.

General information and advice regarding scams can be found at scamnet.wa.gov.au.

To report a scam, email wascam net@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

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