The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged Australians to practice caution when answering unknown calls as thousands fall victim to a convincing new phone scam.
Scammers pose as the Australian Border Force in an attempt to steal unsuspecting individuals’ personal information. Targets of the scam will receive a message claiming a package addressed to them has been seized for containing illicit substances and as a result an arrest warrant has been issued.
It will then ask recipients to dial “one” to speak with an officer. The ACCC warned in a Tweet that anyone who receives the message should “hang up immediately”.
An ACCC spokesperson told 7 News that Scamwatch had received over 4940 reports of the scam so far this year.
“(The scammers) would ask the reporter (victim) to google their local Australian Federal Police phone number and (they had) called the reporter from that number through spoofing,” the spokesperson said.
“Scammers would then get the victim to share bank account details, driving licence, passport, and a photo of reporter holding the licence. With these details, scammers can compromise the victim’s identity, with the photo being useful to pass a variety of institutions’ Know Your Customer checks.”
Warning: people are receiving a recorded message claiming to be from @AusBorderForce. It says there is an arrest warrant as they have picked up a parcel addressed to you with illegal contents. They ask you to dial 1. If you receive this call, hang up immediately, it’s a #scam! pic.twitter.com/7UIhsdgAG7
— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) September 23, 2021
Twitter followers were quick to respond to Scamwatch’s tweet, sharing their experiences of receiving scam calls with one writing, “Today I received a scam call about an Amazon Prime subscription they asked me if I wanted to cancel and I said yes. They asked me to turn on the computer and go to a fake website containing the Amazon Prime name.”
“I’m getting on a daily basis of 10 scam calls a day these calls are coming from all over the world I don’t answer any of them.”
“I got one claiming to be Vic police saying my bank details have been compromised. I hung up. Be careful.”
The Australian Border Force is also aware of the scam and warned potential victims through their Twitter page, “We are aware of automated phone calls claiming to represent the Australian Border Force. This is a scam!”
We are aware of automated phone calls claiming to represent the Australian Border Force. This is a scam!
Hang up and report the call to ACCC Consumer Rights’ ScamWatch: https://t.co/O05bUlRn3Q@Scamwatch_gov pic.twitter.com/7Sxly3pYoN
— ABF (@AusBorderForce) October 13, 2021
According to the latest data from Scamwatch, Australians have already lost $211 million this year to scams as scammers attempt to fleece larger amounts of money from unsuspecting individuals.
A scam message that circulated earlier in the year also targeted individuals waiting for parcels with scammers posing as Australia Post or Amazon and asking recipients to tap a link to organise a time for parcel delivery.
Individuals are urged to report suspected scams to Scamwatch, contact the organisation the scammer is claiming to be from directly if in doubt and notify their bank or financial institution if they believe they have fallen victim to a scam.