Scamwatch has warned Australians to be aware of a new scam circulating that targets victims seeking to recoup losses from previous scams.
The scam involves a promise to help victims recover money lost to an original scam after they pay an up-front fee. Over $270,000 has been lost to this scam so far.
Money recovery scams are on the rise. Scamwatch is warning people to be aware of uninvited offers of help to recover money for an up-front payment. Learn more: https://t.co/UGL8lDCvp9
— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) April 5, 2022
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said scams like this one lead to psychological trauma for those who have previously been duped into handing over money or personal details.
“Scammers will ask for money and personal information before offering to ‘help’ the victim and will then disappear and stop all contact,” she said.
“Money recovery scams are particularly nasty as they target scam victims again. These scams can lead to significant psychological distress as many of the people have already lost money or identity information.”
This year alone Scamwatch reported they have already received 66 reports of money recovery scams, up 725 per cent compared to reports in 2021.
The scams are often well thought out, including paperwork with proof of identification needed and professional looking websites using fabricated testimonials to bait victims.
Rickard warned it isn’t always previous victims that scammers prey upon with reports that scammers are also cold calling or sending emails to convince people of a false scam they’ve fallen victim to, claiming they’re eligible for a refund.
“If you get contacted out of the blue by someone offering to help recover scam losses for a fee, it is a scam. Hang up the phone, delete the email and ignore any further contacts,” Rickard said.
“Don’t give financial details or copies of identity documents to anyone who you’ve never met in person and never give strangers remote access to your devices.
“Scammers can be very convincing and one way to spot them is to search online for the name of the organisation who contacted you with words like ‘complaint’, ‘scam’ or ‘review’.”
The ACCC advises victims of scams should take up recovery processes with their banking institutions.