Police have received reports of scams involving fake Australian Federal Police (AFP) representatives targeting vulnerable members of the community.

Some scammers are falsely identifying themselves as a Federal Agent and telling victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts. They then request personal details, including a Medicare number, address, and bank details. The fake representatives ask their victim to deposit money into an AFP account.

Scammers are also targeting people using email and social media with fake arrest warrants. The offenders then call their victims and demand payments ordering them to deposit money into a nominated bank account, transfer crypto currency, or purchase online vouchers.

Some scammers ask their victim to meet in public to hand over money, or ask them to withdraw funds from their account and deposit into an AFP account.

A number of people have been manipulated by these offenders. In some cases, people have deposited thousands of dollars into a scam bank account. In other cases, people have withdrawn money from their account but fortunately, have spoken to family or friends and realised they are being scammed before handing over any funds.

Phone calls from scammers may appear to come from a legitimate AFP number. In some reports, the scammers have managed to mimic an AFP number to disguise their identity. Police suspect these calls are actually coming from overseas.

What you need to know

  • If you are contacted by someone you suspect is a scammer, end the call immediately. Do not call them back on the number they called you on.
  • The AFP will never ask you to pay a fine with cash, crypto currency such as Bitcoin, gift cards such as iTunes or Google Play, and will never call you to ask to you transfer funds into a bank account.
  • The AFP will never call, email or contact you via social media to threaten to arrest you, demand you withdraw money or ask you to confirm personal details over the phone.
  • The AFP (and the Australian Government) will never seek payment for fines or other matters over the phone.
  • If you are in any doubt, you should look up the number of the AFP switchboard in your capital city. Call and speak with a genuine AFP employee to be sure such a call demanding payment was not real.

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Scammers use all kinds of sneaky approaches to steal your personal details. Once obtained, they can use your identity to commit fraudulent activities such as using your credit card or opening a bank account.
Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits.
Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers.
Threats to life, arrest or other involve demands by scammers to pay money that you supposedly owe and threats if you do not cooperate.