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Fresh scam warning regarding unsolicited phone calls

15 May 2019 1:42pm

SA Police have issued a fresh warning to the community about scammers making unsolicited telephone calls in which they claim to be police officers, or work with the South Australia Police.

Of concern with these recent scam calls is that the telephone number displayed is that of a South Australian police station, however the call is not being made from that location.

Unfortunately modifying a caller ID is a simple technique which can be used by scammers as a way to build credibility by making a call or SMS appear to come from a reputable agency.

In one recent incident reported to police a woman was advised by a caller that he was a ‘federal agent’ from the ATO and that she owned money.

He supplied a phone number for her to call back on and while she was on the phone she had a ‘missed call’ which she returned, hearing an automatic message before being put through to the 'officer’.

Neither the message, nor the 'officer', were genuine but the woman was convinced to purchase gift cards to pay her 'outstanding debt'. Similar scam tactics have been reported in various locations both across South Australia and nationally.

South Australia Police urge the public to be aware and vigilant when receiving phone calls from unknown numbers.

No government organisation will ever request payment of debts or fines through gift cards or online currency and SA Police do not act as debt collectors for any agency or other organisation.

Please make your own enquiries if you do receive a phone call from what appears to be a police station, find a number yourself and dial it in rather than simply returning a call you may have missed.

Police station names will not appear on your phone if police are trying to contact you, with the majority of calls from police appearing as a ‘blocked’ or ‘private’ number.

Scammers often contact people by phone or on the internet – making it important to remember these tips to protect yourself:

* Hang up when someone you don't know calls

* Immediately delete emails from people you don't know, and from agencies or businesses that you didn’t agree to receive emails from – do not click on links in those emails

* Never send money online to someone you haven't met in person

* If in doubt contact the government agency from a phone number or website that you have located and were not directed to

* Remember the ATO will not request payment of a debt via iTunes, Google Play cards or Bitcoins

* Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source

* If you think you have provided your bank account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately

* Never give an unsolicited person remote access to your computer. You may compromise the security of your device and your personal information

* Ensure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software

Please share this information - and discuss the prevalence of these type of scams with people in your circle who may be less savvy about this type of technology or scam activity.

To report a scam or for further information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au