Australian Institute of Criminology

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Scam calls claiming to be from the AIC

Media release

18 April 2013

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has been alerted by members of the public that criminal scammers are impersonating our staff in an attempt to gain access to computers, personal details and ultimately the money of their intended victims.

This is a classic cold-call scam – usually made in the early evening - and should be ignored and reported to Scamwatch and the AIC. If a person has already been defrauded, the theft should be reported to the police.

“These scammers deliberately target victims who they have already ripped off. The caller pretends to be some authority who is there to help – either to retrieve their money, prosecute the original scammer, or fix their “compromised” computer,” AIC spokesman Colin Campbell said.

In the past, this ‘help the victim’ methodology has been used on victims of Nigerian 419 email scams, romance scams and more elaborate investment scams.

“These criminals are now using the good reputation of government agencies such as the AIC, as cover for their activities.

“It is important to note that the AIC is a criminology research agency and does not investigate actual fraud cases. That is a matter for the police,” Mr Campbell said.

The AIC would like to thank the members of the public who have phoned and emailed about this particular scam.

The Australian Crime Commission has estimated that between 2007 and 2012, $113 million was stolen from Australians in investment type frauds alone.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Fraud Survey for 2010-11 found that Australians lost $1.4 billion due to personal fraud, including scams.

ABS survey results estimated that three in five victims of personal fraud - 713,600 persons - lost money (an average of $2,000 per victim), while 514,500 Australians were victims of scams, which is a 2% increase since 2007.

If you think you have been contacted by a scammer who uses the AIC or any other government agency’s name, let us know at frontdesk@aic.gov.au or alert the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission at www.scamwatch.gov.au.

For comment: Colin Campbell 0418 159 525 or 02 6260 9244

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