The ACCC’s Scamwatch website is warning people to be aware of unsolicited offers to help them recover money from previous scams.
These so-called money recovery scams target people who have already lost funds to a previous fraud. The scammers promise to help victims recover their losses after paying a fee in advance. Australians lost over $270,000 to these scams in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 301% compared to the same period in 20211.
These cons are particularly heinous as they target vulnerable scam victims again. The scammers usually ask for money and personal information before promising to ‘help’ the victim. Once the cash and personal information are provided, the scammers disappear into thin air, and all contact ceases.
In the first quarter of 2022, Scamwatch received 66 reports of money recovery scams, a 725% increase compared to the same period in 2021.
Unexpected contacts out of the blue.
Scammers target previous victims of rip-offs, contacting them out of the blue. They pose as a trusted organisation such as a law firm, fraud task force or government agency. They may have authoritative looking websites and use phoney testimonials from “other victims” they have ‘helped’ to complete the con.
As well as an up-front payment, the scammers often ask their victims to fill out bogus paperwork or provide identity documents. Some fraudsters will even request remote access to computers or smartphones, enabling access to their unsuspecting victim’s financial and personal data.
Moreover, if you haven’t been scammed, don’t think you’re immune to a money recovery con. Some scammers will try to convince unsuspecting consumers that they’ve been involved in a scam and are entitled to compensation. When this happens, be sure to end the phone call, delete the email and block any further contacts.
Scamwatch warns that scammers can be very convincing, and one way to recognise them is by searching online for the name of the organisation that contacted you with words such as ‘complaint’, ‘scam’ or ‘review’.
For those impacted by a money recovery scam, contact your financial institution immediately and report it. This may not help you get your money back, but it could assist others in avoiding losing big bucks to scammers.
If you suspect a scam or fraudulent activity has impacted your accounts, members can contact us by phone between 8am and 6pm AEST/AEDT Monday to Friday at +61 3 8624 5888 or you can send us a Secure Message or use the Contact Us form 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Important note: This information is of a general nature and is not intended to be relied on by you as advice in any particular matter. You should contact us at Defence Bank to discuss how this information may apply to your circumstances.
1 https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/scammers-targeting-victims-again-through-money-recovery-scams https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/scammers-targeting-victims-again-through-money-recovery-scams