Scammers are targeting victims of previous frauds by offering to help recover their stolen money for a fee before fleecing them – again.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says people have lost $270,000 to these scams so far this year with 66 scams reported.

It’s a 301 per cent increase in the amount of money lost during the same period last year, and a 725 per cent increase in the number of reported scams.

“Money recovery scams are particularly nasty as they target scam victims again,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said on Tuesday.

The scammers will ask for the victim’s personal information and an upfront fee and then stop all contact once it’s paid.

They are posing as law firms, fraud task forces or government agencies with official-looking websites and fake paperwork.

Scammers will also request remote access to people’s smartphones or computers.

People who aren’t victims are also being contacted and told they have been scammed and are entitled to a settlement refund.

Australians should hang up the phone on scammers, delete their emails and ignore any further contact.

Victims should contact their bank and if unsatisfied with their response go to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Ms Rickard warned that scammers could be convincing and people should search online for the name of the organisation they claim to represent, adding words like “complaint”, “scam” or “review”.

“These scams can lead to significant psychological distress as many of the people have already lost money or identity information,” she said.


Finbar O’Mallon
(Australian Associated Press)