Melbourne woman allegedly conned into handing over life savings by AFP impersonator

Jack PaynterNCA NewsWire
A man police would like to speak to after an international student in Melbourne was allegedly scammed out of her life savings.
Camera IconA man police would like to speak to after an international student in Melbourne was allegedly scammed out of her life savings. Credit: Supplied

A Melbourne woman has allegedly been conned out of her entire life savings by a man impersonating a federal police officer.

Victoria Police have launched an investigation after the 27-year-old international student was contacted by a man claiming to be from the Australian Federal Police on August 16 this year.

Police alleged the woman had her entire life savings stolen by the hoax callers after they claimed the student had several credit card debts.

Police allege the scammer told the woman that if the debts were not repaid it would affect her visa status and any future plans involving overseas travel.

While on the phone, police said the woman was transferred several times until a female voice answered and gave the victim instructions on what to do.

Police said the woman was told to withdraw $20,000 from her bank and take the money to the Princes Gardens on Chapel St, Prahran where she would be met by an AFP officer.

The man police would like to speak to in relation to the incident. He could assist with inquiries. Victoria Police
Camera IconThe man police would like to speak to in relation to the incident. He could assist with inquiries. Victoria Police Credit: Supplied
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers. Victoria Police
Camera IconAnyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers. Victoria Police Credit: Supplied

At the park the woman allegedly handed over the $20,000 in cash to a man but was told she still owed another $20,000.

The woman told the alleged AFP impersonator that she only had $18,300 left in her account, and police said the man then told her she only had to pay $18,000 and could keep the $300.

Police said the victim went back to the bank and withdrew the balance of her account before going back to the park and handing over the money to the same man she had met up with earlier.

STUDENT SCAMMED
Camera IconPrinces Gardens in Prahran where an international student was allegedly asked to hand over money. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

The woman contacted police after questioning the legitimacy of the cash transaction.

Police have released CCTV of a man they would like to speak to as part of their investigation. It is believed he may be able to assist them with their inquiries..

He has been described as of Indian appearance, about 178cm tall with dark coloured hair, a beard, big eyes and a thin build.

New e-safety lesson plans have been launched which will teach topics including fake news, cyber fraud and online pornography to children as young as four. The office of the eSafety Commissioner created the lesson plans to students in year one and onwards be cyber smart and tell fact from fiction. Content will include how to protect against identity theft, avoid scams and how to report abuse.

He was wearing a black jacket, black shoes and a black cap.

Stonnington Detective Senior Constable Damian Faggian said the victim was a well-travelled and intelligent woman but the alleged scammers were still able to deceive her.

“It just goes to show you how convincing these people are,” he said.

“We certainly hope to make some arrests in this investigation, but if we can’t it is important to get this information out so no one else is taken in by this scam.”

AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said AFP employees would never ask for money transfers, Bitcoins or online vouchers such as iTunes and GooglePlay.

“Scammers take advantage of people’s trusting nature and fear of doing the wrong thing when in many cases it is their first time dealing with authorities,” she said.

“Victims can feel an array of emotions – from helplessness and humiliation to anger and guilt – but it is important to know you are not to blame and help is available.”

Anyone who recognises the man or with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Melbourne woman allegedly conned into handing over life savings by AFP impersonator

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