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ACCC warns against scams promising financial recovery

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  • 2 min read

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned against scammers looking to exploit victims of scams with financial recovery schemes that promise to recover the amount lost in a previous scam for an upfront fee. People aged over 65 are the most frequent targets, with the ACCC receiving 158 such reports between December 2023 and May 2024, totalling losses of over AU$ 2.9 million ($1.9 million), including losses from the original scam.

Victims of previous scams can be “easily identified by criminals who commonly keep and sell information about individuals they have exploited,” according to the ACCC. After identifying a target, cybercriminals reach out to the victims by impersonating a government agency, cyber security organisation, fund recovery service, lawyer, consumer advocacy group, or charity, promising to recover the victims’ losses.

Additionally, criminals also ask for the victim’s personal information under the guise of verifying their identity or setting up crypto wallets to facilitate payments from victims for their supposed services. Victims have also been asked for remote access to their devices to collect personal information and identification details.

Another tactic these scammers employ to get more victims to fall for a double scam is pretending to be a victim themselves and referring people to a specific person or organisation that helped recover their funds. Other times, victims might contact these criminals directly via online ads. They set up websites advertising their services to appear legitimate, even providing victims detailed guides and other paperwork as part of the recovery process.

The commission has also flagged two websites used to promote such scams, with one already being taken down by relevant authorities. It won’t do much for those who have already lost their money. Even legitimate scam investigation services can rarely recover scammed money, and most money stolen by cybercriminals is transferred offshore very quickly, making the process even more difficult.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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