Telephone calls alleging fake arrest warrants used to scam money

13 April 2015

SCAMwatch is warning consumers to be aware of calls from scammers falsely claiming to be from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) or Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Scammers have recently been calling Australians telling them that there is a warrant out for their arrest. Many people have reported to SCAMwatch that messages have been recorded on their answering machines asking them to call back later. One of the telephone numbers provided is 02 6100 3027, among many others, and they ask you to call during office hours to discuss the matter further. However, the telephone number has no connection with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Australian Taxation Office or any other state or commonwealth department.

The scammers may spin a range of stories about why an arrest warrant has been issued, including that you have failed to pay taxes.

Scammers typically ask for money to be sent via wire transfer as it’s nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. They may also ask for people’s financial and other personal details to access their money and use this information to commit other scams.

Be on guard, if you receive a phone call from someone saying you have an arrest warrant and asking you to pay a fee, hang up and do not respond. If in doubt, don’t use the contact details provided - look up the government department or organisation yourself in the phone book or online and phone or email them.

How these scams work

  • You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions or the Australian Taxation Office.
  • The call may sound like it is an automated message with an American accent.
  • The caller or sender will claim that you have an arrest warrant for some reason.
  • The scammer will ask you to telephone a number that appears to be Australian but is likely to be a VOIP number.
  • One of the numbers reported is 02 6100 3027. This is not the correct number for the CDPP.
  • The scammer will tell you that in order to resolve the matter you will need to pay a fee.
  • You may also be asked to provide your bank account details or other personal information so they can confirm they have the right person.
  • If you send any money via wire transfer, you will never see it again – it’s nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. You will also never receive the promised rebate or refund.
  • If you provide your bank account details or other personal information, the scammer may use it to commit identity theft or to steal your money.

Protect yourself

  • If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions or Australian Taxation Office telling you about an arrest warrant, hang up.
  • If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
  • The CDPP is advising people to be vigilant when receiving phone calls of this nature and if in doubt about the authenticity of a call that you receive from the CDPP, contact them on one of the publically listed phone numbers or email inquiries@cdpp.gov.au.
  • Never send any money via wire transfer to anyone you do not know or trust.
  • 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 account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

More information

See advice at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions website.

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter.

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