Scams and fraud

Scams are difficult to detect until the victim has parted with their money and the offender is far away. Sometimes scams are not matters that police investigate, however we co-operate with other agencies to try to minimise their harm. Scammers use all manner of approaches and they can be very convincing. Some methods they use could be via a romance, loneliness, lottery, inheritance, or they may use a convincing plea for assistance.

In all of these ways scammers can and do appeal to a person’s good nature in order to enrich themselves and defraud the victim. Scammers have no problem deceiving people nor do they care what financial hardship they cause to their victim therefore the cost to society is quite high.

Today, by way of example, there are hundreds of fake emails in circulation that offers rich rewards to recipients who have “won a lottery” or who are asked to “help your family member claim their huge inheritance” or to invest in “African Building Propositions”. Notably, the recipient did not ever enter that lottery, or won’t know the relative who has supposed passed on.

For the most part this is a form of scamming that victimises many people. It is unsolicited and if you respond, an offender will ask that you start sending money to ensure your huge payoff. The money asked of you will be small to start with, and then get larger and larger as time goes on. These people will invent dozens of reasons why you should keep sending them money and you most often will see no reward.

This is known as “advance fee fraud”. Do not send money to the sender of this email.

Did you get a letter from the Major Fraud Squad? Unsure what it is about?

We work closely with the Consumer Protection at the Department of Commerce and other government agencies like the ACCC. We send letters to people who we believe are caught up in online relationship fraud. You can read more about this letter-sending intervention initiative at Scam Net - Project Sunbird. To speak to the Project Sunbird team about a relationship fraud, call: 1300 30 40 54.

If you are the victim of a scam there is little that we can do to recover your money however we work with overseas organisations like the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to find scammers and there have even been some arrests.

If you have been victimised, please don’t be embarrassed! Literally hundreds of other people have been scammed in similar ways. It is important to report the matter. You can contact WA ScamNet via the form at www.scamnet.wa.gov.au or by emailing WA Scam Net. Alternatively the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website has an ACCC Scamwatch Scam Reporting Form

Visit the requests for money - advance fee fraud section to find out more.

SUPPORT: For assistance and counselling services please go to ScamNet - Help for Victims. If you need to speak to someone urgently call Lifeline on 13 11 14.