Recently scammers have begun using the name of a real Australian institution, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), and even the name of a genuine Assistant Governor, Dr Bob Rankin. The letter, which features a forgery of Dr Rankin’s signature, encourages potential victims to participate in a Nigerian-style scam, paying fees to have millions of dollars deposited in their bank account. Of course, it is not the role of the RBA to endorse such schemes, the money is imaginary and any fees paid will only benefit the scammers.

To get people to trust them, scammers often use the names of non-existent realistic sounding institutions like “the Federal Bank of South Africa” or “the European Consumer Protection Bureau”. They can even use the names of real businesses such as the Central Bank of Nigeria or the El Gordo Lottery from Spain.

If you receive a message claiming to come from a particular company or government agency, you should check with the alleged sender that the message is genuine. A quick internet search should provide contact details so you can get in touch directly. The ACCC Infocentre can also help find the appropriate number or address, and check if any offers match the pattern of a scam. Do not rely on the contact details in the message, as they could well put you in touch with the scammers.

The RBA can be contacted on 1800 300 288 or +61 2 9551 8111, or via

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Unexpected money scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum of money or a payment on the condition you help them to transfer money out of their country.