Cyberscammers on the prowl

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, Nigerian cyberscammers are doing some virtual pick-pocketing and older Australians are at risk.

These online scammers are known for targeting visitors of online dating sites and those who click on false job adverts. Many of these scammers are asking for what is called an “advance fee”. These “advance fee scams” request that individuals transfer large amounts of money upfront with the promise of large cash rewards from Nigerian princes and other false identities to follow.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology 202 Victorians have recently fallen victim to these scams and around 4 in every 10 victims were aged 55 or over. On the whole, Victorians have lost $1.4 million to these Nigerian scammers, with an average of $12,000 dollars lost per individual. Some people even went as far as taking out loans or remortgaging their homes to make the payment. Police are urging victims to come forward but in the meantime, it is advised that internet browsers proceed with caution.

What should you look out for?

  • promises of large cash amounts from Nigerian princes (or other fake identities) in exchange for an online money transfer
  • online dating websites which ask for personal details and bank information
  • inheritance scams which inform you of an inheritance owed to you from a distant overseas relative and ask for your bank details so that they can deposit the money
  • agreeing to transfer money for somebody else. Not only do they have access to your account, but they are able to launder money under your name.

If you know anyone who has become a victim of these cyber scams, contact the police for assistance or read more about the Nigerian scams at SCAMwatch.

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