Fraud Watch issues a scam alert on calls issued by the Australian Border Force
Australians have been urged to be vigilant as thousands fall prey to a disguised new phone scam impersonating the Australian Border Force.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged people to be careful when answering unknown calls, as thousands fall prey to a disguised new scam.
Scamwatch has received more than 4,940 reports of the scam – which includes an individual claiming to be an Australian Border Force (ABF) officer – so far this year, with financial losses of more than $121,800.
Under the ruse, unsuspecting individuals received a recorded message from the alleged officer, indicating that a package addressed to the person had been intercepted and confiscated for allegedly containing illegal ingredients.
According to the letter, an arrest warrant was issued as a result of the expulsion and the recipient was asked to call “One” to speak with an officer.
In a statement to 7 news, an ACCC spokesperson said at that point, recipients should “immediately end the call.”
The spokesperson explained that once an individual called “one,” “the scammers would ask the reporter (the victim) to Google the local Australian Federal Police phone number and (they had) contact the reporter from that number through spoofing.”
The scammers then make the victim share bank account details, driver’s license, passport and photo of the reporter holding the license. With these details, they added, scammers can compromise the identity of the victim, with the image being useful for passing a variety of KYC checks.
The scam is believed to be the latest version of two others – one impersonating an Australian tax officer and the other from AFP, which also involves threatening individuals if they do not pay immediately.
An ACCC spokesperson urged Australians to get their wits about them.
“Law enforcement agencies and government departments will never ask you to pay a fine in cash, cryptocurrency or gift cards,” they said.
They will not call and ask you to transfer the money to a bank account.
The Australian Border Force will not contact you, email you, or communicate with you on social media and threaten you with arrest.
“(f) No Australian government agency (including law enforcement) will require a fine over the phone.”
Australians should “not provide bank details, passport or photo ID copies of someone who suddenly called you” and know that “it is OK to hang up and check the person’s story by calling the police or government organisation”.