Scams have regrettably become an inescapable aspect of our daily lives.
According to Scamwatch, in the first nine months of 2023, there have been losses of nearly $329 million to various scams. Even more concerning, online criminals are increasingly adept at exploiting people when they are most vulnerable to deception.
One particularly devious trend that has emerged recently is the increase of money recovery scams, often referred to as "follow-up" scams.
These scams specifically target individuals who have fallen victim to a previous scam, preying on their desperation to recoup their losses.
How money recovery scams work.
Money recovery scams operate on a cunningly simple method. After someone has fallen victim to a scam, they may desperately need assistance to recover their lost funds.
Scammers are quick to exploit this vulnerability. They pose as legitimate businesses or organisations claiming to have the expertise and resources to help victims recover their money.
Scammers typically demand an upfront fee for their services, promising that the victim's lost funds will be swiftly returned once the payment is made. To make matters worse, they often request sensitive personal information, allegedly to speed-up the recovery process.
However, these criminals have no intention of helping victims – their only goal is to steal even more money and personal data.
A double whammy of financial pain.
The financial watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), recently issued a scam alert that sheds light on the rise of money recovery scams. In one specific case, ASIC warned customers about Payback-Recovery Co, operating under the website www.payback-recovery.com. This shonky website falsely claimed to be an approved service by ASIC, displaying fake documents adorned with the ASIC logo and Commonwealth Coat of Arms.
Reports began to emerge from consumers who had fallen victim to this fraudulent con. The victims paid upfront fees to Payback-Recovery Co, expecting to recover their lost funds, only to receive nothing in return. ASIC's alert is a stark reminder of the ever-evolving tactics used by scammers to deceive and defraud innocent individuals.
Protecting yourself from money recovery scams.
Given the rise of money recovery scams, it's important to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips you can consider for protection:
If someone offers to help you recover lost funds but asks for an upfront fee, exercise extreme caution. Legitimate organisations usually only charge fees after delivering results.
Check the legitimacy of any organisation claiming to help with money recovery by doing a search online.
Guard personal information.
Never share sensitive personal information, such as your tax file number or bank details, with any entity without thorough verification.
Research and report.
Research online to find out if others have reported the same service as a scam. If you suspect fraudulent activity, report it to the relevant authorities, such as ASIC and Defence Bank.
Would you like to learn more?
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.